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No loan takers so far

No loan takers so far

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)

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Ann Fontaine

Susan: here is the link to the loan funds

Susan Kleinwechter

Show me a link where I can find out more about this loan. If you can’t show me a link, there’s the problem.

Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D.

It may also be that, quite simply, there just isn’t anything reasonable to do with a church space other than church. I am currently working in/with a struggling church. It is in a part of the city that has changed ethnically and demographically and has had a significant downturn. There is no “market” for parking spaces, better options for using space that are not in the church and no way that I could think of to “upgrade” the kitchen to any purpose (there are plenty of restaurant spaces around).

This points up again that some of our churches are “failing” due to location and urban/economic factors. By the same token, some of our “growing” parishes are riding the tails of urban renewal and other favorable changes. I wonder if the fund would allow churches to “move” to other locations, if that might be a better use?

Jim Naughton

Just to be clear about this, the Building Fund isn’t a part of the structure of the general church. Although, it used to be at 815, so I can see how one would think that. Actually, it is a free standing organization with its HQ in Richmond. So there was no central authority determining a solution, just an entrepreneurial organization making an offer that probably didn’t get the publicity it needed. They are online at ecbf.org

Kevin Montgomery

The real question should be this: Does anyone actually know this type of loan exists?

Even if they do, there’s a lot of work to be done prior to the loan. A parish also isn’t likely to find out about the loan until after they’ve already begun the process of rethinking building usage.

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