Oude Kerk, or old church, in Amsterdam, hosts the 2013 World Press Photo contest, among other arts events. The 800-year-old building is still home to a congregation. Some rights reserved by Joop Reuvecamp.
“Most of our landfill waste comes from building deconstruction,” she interjected. “We can’t just keep adding to that. These old buildings are well made and historic. You can’t just tear them down. Surely we can think of new uses for them.”
I realized my friend wanted to keep the church weird. I also understood that the issue was more complicated than my slash-and-burn approach allowed. However, the questions still remain. What should we do when a congregation can no longer afford a pastor, ministry, and a building?