Historic city churches find new life as neighborhood centers

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Across the U.S., historic urban churches built decades ago to accommodate hundreds or thousands of worshippers and bulging Sunday school classes have struggled with shrinking flocks and rising preservation costs. So, many are finding new ways to use their buildings that let them both keep those sacred places viable and serve the neighborhoods they’ve anchored for decades. In Minneapolis alone, landmark churches have hosted everything from food pantries and Finnish language classes to tai-chi practices and group discussions on reparations. Elsewhere in the country, they’ve rented out space for events or programs like preschools, bringing in much needed revenue, and also made their buildings available free to community groups.