Doors open to the city

The privilege of serving downtown
Having had the privilege of serving downtown churches in Columbus, Ohio, and in Chicago, I have watched city churches struggle to respond faithfully to dramatically changing environments. Broad Street in Columbus is a street of churches—stately edifices constructed in a time when many of the members lived in the surrounding neighborhoods. But the neighborhoods changed. Members moved away. Gracious mansions became the home of doctors’ offices and nonprofit organizations. New residents never found their way into those imposing church buildings. Every one of those churches experienced a significant decline in membership, and each responded in a different way. When Columbus erupted in riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the National Guard bivouacked in the huge church parking lot by the Presbyterian Church behind a chain-link fence constructed for security reasons.

 

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