I met Rev. Drew Ludwig from Lafayette Presbyterian Church last week (google map). We sat down this morning in the church's sanctuary and talked about the use/re-use of religious structures in the context of a shrinking-city.
Rev. Drew Ludwig - Lafayette Presbyterian Church
Drew pointed to a number of religious buildings that have been repurposed in Pittsburgh - including the Church Brew Works - and the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto as possible models for the reuse of religious structures in Buffalo. The fiscal challenges at Lafayette are daunting. The operational budget is nibbling away at the endowment's principal and membership has dwindled over the years. According to Drew, if the Diocese owned Lafayette it would probably already be closed.
click image to enlarge
Drew is asking - "Do we have to collapse as a congregation, fold as a spiritual community for the building to find a new life - or can we become more proactive?" The solution, according to the emerging dialog here at Lafayette Presbyterian becomes a new and progressive mix of the secular and religious.
Here's the podcast (17min, after the link).
Lafayette Presbyterian Church - 1914
After completing his M.Div. at Palmer Theological Seminary he returned to his home town of Pittsburgh in 2004 as an assistant pastor. Drew became the pastor at Lafayette Presbyterian Church in 2007 and lives with his wife and two foster children in the neighborhood. Lafayette Presbyterian Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.