Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
By Naftali Bendavid
The former Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph in Arnhem,
Netherlands, one of hundreds of decommissioned churches, was turned into a skate park.
NETHERLANDS---Two dozen scruffy skateboarders launched perilous jumps in a soaring old church building here on a recent night, watched over by a mosaic likeness of Jesus and a solemn array of stone saints. This is the Arnhem Skate Hall, an uneasy reincarnation of the Church of St. Joseph, which once rang with the prayers of nearly 1,000 worshipers. It is one of hundreds of churches, closed or threatened by plunging membership, that pose a question for communities, and even governments, across Western Europe: What to do with once-holy, now-empty buildings that increasingly mark the countryside from Britain to Denmark? [link]