A third of Canada’s churches will disappear over the next decade, according to a charity that works to preserve buildings. That amounts to about 9,000 religious spaces that will no longer be in use.
This, we’re told, is a sad thing.
National Trust for Canada regeneration project leader Robert Pajot says every community in the country is going to see old church buildings shuttered, sold off or demolished.
“Neighbourhoods are going to have multiple churches closing,” Pajot said. “Some people qualify this as a crisis, and I kind of agree. It is going to hit everybody.”
He says it’s a crisis because you might lose both historical buildings as well as a sense of community. But if that’s a casualty of people abandoning bad ideas, it’s not necessarily a bad tradeoff. Especially when you consider that people will always form communities around shared interests. The locations themselves are secondary to all that and new spaces will emerge.
It’s just hard to get weepy about the loss of Catholic Churches.
In eastern New Brunswick, for example, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese has predicted 20 of its 53 parishes will likely close if congregations can’t find a way to generate more money.
Likewise, more than 30 of 54 Catholic churches near Montreal were slated for closure in a 2018 report by the Diocese of St-Jérôme, with local congregations now crunching the numbers to determine their fate.
You mean there won’t be local headquarters for priests to disseminate misinformation about LGBTQ people and birth control? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You can feel bad for the worshipers who consider those spaces a comfortable home, but just as anyone who’s had to move can tell you, you’ll find a replacement eventually. It won’t be identical, but it also won’t be as bad as you fear.
And remember: Some of the spaces just turn into more useful venues:
Many churches have been transferred from sacred to secular use as art galleries, concert halls, libraries, community centres and even micro-breweries.
That sounds… awesome? Those are gathering spaces we can all get behind.
Over time, they’re going to discard the bad and keep the good. What’s to complain about?
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Reg and Janice for the link)