01: Partners for Sacred Places is a new organization that attempts to save old and overlooked congregation buildings not so much as architectural treasures as social resources for neighborhoods and communities.
Researchers assembled by the project studied six cities and found that congregations “provide, on average, four programs serving people in need from the greater community” and that these programs are at risk because the deteriorating buildings that house them are at risk. Partners for Sacred Places finds that most of the served people are not members of the congregations in question.
Thus if these congregations die, their surrounding neighborhoods will likewise suffer. The Brookings Institution recently sponsored an event that brought together William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education, and Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Democrat from Connecticut, as well as congregation members and social scientific researchers.
(Source: Sightings, Oct. 30)