Drew Ludwig: the future of church - Part I

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.

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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.

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Dan said...

Converting the non-worshipping parts into apartments makes pefect sense, to me.

And look at that fantastic photo from 1914 - the telephone wires, electric wires, trolley wires, and only 2 little gas lamps! Plus, the West side of the block had no houses yet. Buffalo really is a young city.

smilesandlight said...

I think the Church should be used as an all purpose Spiritual CEnter Community meeting and operating place for the Spiritually minded of the neighborhood in a forward looking Proactive sense.. that does not have to rule out Living Space conversions as seems to be being talked about but a Spiritual meeting place for meditation prayer and learning spiritual truths makes sense to me a close neighbor

Drew said...

@smilesandlight Absolutely. We want to make sure that happens regardless of whatever else happens in the building

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Gina said...

We use to rent space in the huge gym area for Nickel City Fencing. Since JCC took out its basketball court there is no place for folks to shoot some hoops. Schools are struggling to find space for sport practices. Tapestry Charter School found $ supporters and built squash courts at Buff Sem because of lack of space. Your gym is huge and full of potential for kids.
What about reaching to schools/organizations looking for space. The mixed marshall arts program at Great Arrow built an incredible facility. You have a much more family friendly atmosphere than Great Arrow. Parents spend thousands on their kids to keep them busy.