UPDATE: The link to the loan fund is here. Thanks to our commenters for asking.
A year ago we reported that there was $100,000 dollars in low interest loans available for any congregation to use to revision their building usage. As of yesterday, the money is still there. Apparently no one has even applied.
From our report a year ago:
"At their second, national, ecumenical symposium, Buildings for a New Tomorrow, the Episcopal Church Building Fund announced today it has set aside a loan fund for the specific purpose of encouraging parishes to rethink conventional use of their buildings. “With over 500 Episcopal churches closing in the past decade, we need to become masters of creativity and imagination in using our sacred space” said Julia Groom-Thompson, President of the Building Fund.
These micro loans are intended primarily for small to mid-sized parishes that will use the funds to make strategic changes to their facilities and leverage opportunities for revenue generation, with a goal of financial self-sustainability. Examples include relining a church parking lot to make it available for lease, refurbishing of a parish hall for rental, removing church pews to enable mixed use of sacred space, or bringing a kitchen up to code for commercial purposes."
So, this is concerning. Groups within the Episcopal Church (ECBF is independent of the formal structures of TEC) try to kickstart some new thinking and there are no takers. Is it because it's a loan? Is it because there are too many restrictions? Or is this an attempt to solve a problem people don't have?
(Updated with edit to the last paragraph to make the Building Fund's status clear)