Dozens of children chattered with excitement in a space where the faithful of the former Heights United Presbyterian Church once raised their voices in worship. The pews were gone, and the sanctuary had become a youth-club basketball court in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Overseeing the gathering was not a preacher but a former basketball player surrounded by kids eager to have a place to play on a warm summer day.
What has not been lost in the transition is a sense of purpose and energy—some would even say mission—in this old brick building.
“I can’t think of a better way if the church could not make it there than to develop a program that would make young people’s lives better,” said Louise Westfall, pastor of nearby Fairmount Presbyterian Church. “That seems to me to be very sacred work.”
If only all closed churches could do so well in their next lives.