Here at Stone Soup Community we have a subscription to the print edition of Ohio Magazine. Since we are located in Ohio, it is a nice resource and source for inspiration for planning day trips or weekend get-a-ways.
The March 2010 edition has an article, Afterlife of a Church, that I found particularly inspiring.
The article showcases five locations that once served the needs of the community in a religious capacity but have since been transformed to serve the community in a new capacity.
Josaphat Arts Hall/Convivium33 Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio was a Roman Catholic church built in 1915. It was transformed into an art gallery and artists' studio space in 2002.
Stately Raven Bookstore in Findlay, Ohio was a Lutheran church built in 1947. It was transformed in 2007 into a bookstore.
Refectory Restaurant & Bistro in Columbus, Ohio was a United Methodist church built in the mid-1800s. It was transformed into its present state in 1981.
Faith Gym in Akron, Ohio was a United Methodist church built in 1892. It was transformed into a fitness center in 2005.
Urban Outfiters in Cincinnati, Ohio was a Protestant church built in 1928. It now serves as a retail store for 18 to 30 somethings and was transformed in 2002.
Inspiration for starting Stone Soup Community came in part from observing the activities of the church across the street. Churches provide a valuable service to the communities where they are located. Due to the architecture and history of former church buildings, this article shows that transforming them can also provide new value to the community and provided me with additional evidence that the vision of Stone Soup Community is valid and can be accomplished.
These stories also provide a sort of blueprint for how we can preserve the integrity and beauty of the architecture as the structure is re-purposed to provide something more meaningful to the community once its usefulness as a place of worship has diminished.
I propose that it would be a wonderful Stone Soup Community event to go visit some of these transformed churches and talk with the folks who have lived through the experience of transformation. I'm sure we will learn a lot and be even further inspired by their stories.