Trisha Croaker concludes her article with: "The building's fourth life? Hopefully as respectful as the lives that have gone before."
There are numerous churches around Australia that were sold and became transformed into homes. I recall one such visit for an afternoon tea. We were shown around the various nooks and crannies that had been turned into a kitchen, bathroom, dining area, lounge and bedrooms.
It got me wondering about those who had long gone but who had worshipped in that church building, who had given liberally and sacrificially and in most cases, help construct the building.
Moreover the congregation members and where they might have disappeared. Surely the children of those families would have grown up and moved away, mostly to the cities. As in many such situations, as the congregation got older so too the numbers dwindled.
Checking the internet and typing into Google "Churches turned into homes", expecting a number of entries, but was somewhat astonished at the pages after pages of references to this subject.
These are some of the references:
Images of Churches turned into homes (www.google.com.au)
This site has photographs of approximately 1050 churches that have been turned into homes. These images range from huge Gothic buildings to much smaller stone edifices that were once churches.
Many of the photographs were of 'internal' images of these churches turned into homes and they are something to behold. Some are simply a living home, whereas others are clearly 'statements' of the well-healed.
Four churches turned into beautiful homes (www.homedit.com)
These represent churches in England, Germany and Holland. The second of the four is located in Northumberland, England. It features a gorgeous Georgian style church.
The entire process to turn the church into a home was done by Sally Onions and Ian Bottomley. The building was bought for £92,000 and the total sum spend for modernization was £300,000. The interior design at this church compared with previous is rustic but original for all 5 bedrooms.
Golden Gate Lutheran Church, San Fransciso (www.hometone.com)
Earlier know as Golden Gate Lutheran Church which now shelters one of the most extraordinary and largest single-family homes in San Francisco. The Gothic Revival style church comprises a three plus bedroom home with well-designed interiors.
The house also features an enormous living area that includes the original sanctuary with soaring, coffered and hand-painted ceilings, arched windows framing Dolores Park as well as most of the original stained glass windows, custom mahogany wood finishes, four fireplaces, a new chef's kitchen and a spacious dining room.
The master suite level features a marble Roman tub room, dressing room and incredible 360 degree views from the tower meditation room and deck. The ground floor level that could be used as exhibition space, recording studio, gym and/or home office. Besides this, a garage accommodates 4 to 6 cars.
Church conversion option
Buying a church conversion (www.ourproperty.co.uk)
This site explains how in London alone, 500 churches have been converted into homes and a business has opened its door which helps buyers convert these once sacred buildings into liveable suburban residences.
Beautiful church conversion in Brisbane. Originally constructed in 1867 as the Church of Palms, this historic building located in Brisbane, Australia, was converted into a luxury home. The now contemporary residence features a large gourmet kitchen, a wine cellar, a saltwater swimming pool, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a mezzanine area with study, a library and media room and landscaped gardens. At the time of writing this article is was for sale. (www.homedsgn.com)
Since this research I've been advised by a real estate contact that there are numerous churches for sale around Australia.
Some get sold for the purpose of congregation relocation to a more provident site for worship. Those buildings are simply knocked down for redevelopment. Tweed Heads Church of Christ fell into this category. The congregation relocated to a nearby regional suburb of Chinderah purchasing an indoor sports complex.
On the other hand, there are those with flair who can perceive how a church building might be converted into a home and certainly, they become talking points. With tongue in cheek, whereas crazy old houses get reputations of spooky ghost legends, perhaps old beautiful churches have "angels".
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html