What will happen to the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Ohio, for Sale at $1.9 Million?

The Euclid Avenue Church of God and the Church of the Transfiguration sit empty on Cleveland’s former Millionaires’ Row, remnants of a heyday when mansions marched east from downtown.

Their congregations have fled. And historic preservationists fear that both churches will disappear, swallowed up by the Cleveland Clinic’s appetite for land.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes, Urban/City Life and Issues

14 comments on “What will happen to the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Ohio, for Sale at $1.9 Million?

  1. Undergroundpewster says:

    The diocese is fortunate they have a potential buyer, but they probably knew that and those $$$ signs helped sustain them through the court battle..

  2. maineiac says:

    very sad story, though not surprising these days.

    [blockquote]”We went to them, asking them to help us,” said the Rev. Kevin Goode, the church’s current pastor. “We see them as our savior more than anything else.” [/blockquote]

    Looks like the current pastor has the wrong savior in mind.

  3. sophy0075 says:

    The building will do more good for humanity, razed to the ground and its land used as a parking lot, than it did for the tiny TEC congregation. What hubris on the part of TEC/the diocese/the TEC priest to think that the Clinic “should” restore the church! And into what – a whited sepulcher?

  4. In Texas says:

    I keep wondering about the TEC legal teams stating that they must retain the properties for the use of current and future generations, and then they sell them shortly after they win the properties back. I guess “use” in legal terms must means sell and “use” the money somewhere else. To me, it seems that TEC is making mistatements before the courts, if there are no viable continuing congregations, and the property gets sold in a short period after they get the keys back. Any lawyers out there that can explain this to me?

  5. Statmann says:

    The newspaper must be confused. They wrote that the parish is gone, but the 2010 TEC Chart for Transfiguration has Members of 105 and ASA of 50. Oh, what a tangled web. Statmann

  6. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    Statmann, maybe the building is for sale with people in it…


  7. carl says:

    [blockquote] Crowther: “Our job is not to bail out every deteriorated landmark in the city. The city has laws that govern how you deal with properties in protected zones, and this is a protected property.”[/blockquote] Of course not. That would make … you know … sense. If a Preservation Society wants to preserve a building, they could purchase it and … well … pay the money to preserve and maintain it. The only problem with this eminently sensible plan is coming up with the money to do it. They don’t have the money, and they have no way to get the money. The city isn’t going to buy an empty church in the downtown just to keep the landscape historic. Private investors see no economic payback. There is only so much money available from charities for such a cause. What’s an activist to do?

    I know! He uses the law to limit the control of the owner over his own property. He then attempts to force the owner to compromise his own financial interest for the sake of the public good – where ‘public good’ is defined by the conservation group. Someone has to spend the money. If we force the owner to keep the property as it is, we force him to make improvements – no matter how economically useless or debilitating those expenses might be. He suddenly has an interest in keeping the property as valuable as he can given the circumstances. It amounts to an illegal taking of property.

    The owner can realize $500K by selling the church, or invest $1.5 in a church that has no reasonable prospect of ever housing a congregation, and from which he will never be able to recoup the $1.5 million investment. But the conservation group gets the pleasure of seeing the historic building sitting empty on the street corner, and congratulates itself on an effort well done.

    Not bad for a group with no financial stake in the matter.


  8. MichaelA says:

    So the whole farce plays out, exactly as predicted: First TEC uses law suits to grab the building from the orthodox congregation. Then, when it wins or the congregation gives up, TEC sells the building to be demolished.

    This is what will happen in Virginia and every other place where TEC is suing departing congregations – vanished churches across the land.

  9. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Hmmm, MichaelA (#8),

    Where did you get the idea that this TEC building was involved in a legal fight between an orthodox congregation that has departed TEC and the local diocese? Did I miss something? The only lawsuit I see mentioned in this article involves the other congregation, the Church of God one. Now maybe you’ve seen other reports, but it appears to me that according to this local reporter’s story, the congregation of Transfiguration has just dwindled over time and melted away. Or as Statmann pointed out above, the people have gradually evaporated or died off, so that the congregation simply couldn’t afford to maintain the landmark property anymore. Like formerly big Church of the Epiphany on Chicago’s west side, or Grace Church in New Orleans, two other former “cardinal” parishes that have closed in recent weeks (although without being put up for sale yet).

    Actually, I suspect that far more TEC buildings will be left empty through the relentless decline of their congregations than through orthodox congregations that have left TEC being forced to abandon their rightful homes. But regardless of how it happens, the grim reality is that more and more empty buildings are piling up in TEC.

    I continue to think that before long, empty buildings will become the main symbol of TEC. All these beautiful old buildings, with no people left to care for them or use them. Sad, but strangely appropriate. For those empty old facilities, grand as they may be, aptly symbolize the emptiness of the theology now dominant in TEC. The denomination is increasingly becoming like these old church buildings, just a hollow shell, with no life in it.

    Write “Ichabod” over TEC. The Glory has departed. Although not yet in some places, such as SC or my former diocese of Albany.

    David Handy+

  10. paradoxymoron says:

    #9: from the article:
    [blockquote] One of several churches that broke off from the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, the congregation at Transfiguration asserted that it owned its building. But the diocese claimed ownership of the property through a trust. A Cuyahoga County judge sided with the diocese in September. [/blockquote]

  11. John Wilkins says:

    The main albatross in almost all mainline traditions is the building; and a dedication to the bureaucracy that worries about them. If they would instead concentrate on building relationships (say, evangelism), perhaps it would be different.

  12. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Thanks, paradoxymoron (#10),

    I stand corrected. I guess I’m the moron in this case. I somehow overlooked that part, despite re-reading the article (sigh). I’m sorry, Michael. My mistake.

    David Handy+

  13. MichaelA says:

    David Handy,

    I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. :o)

    And your point was well made: even without law suits, liberal-led churches like TEC seem to have a talent for losing parishioners over time.

  14. New Reformation Advocate says:

    MichaelA (#13),

    Thanks, Michael. I appreciate your gracious response. As you know by now, and surely most T19 readers must know it too, I tend to post blog comments rather hastily, and then regret the hastiness later.

    That’s certainly true in this case. But I appreciate your kind words. And no, I won’t lose any sleep over it. In fact, I might forget this little lesson in humility and patience all too soon. But I hope not.

    David Handy+