Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Church buildings should change to fit needs

Letter by Vincent S. Hart, University Place on May 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm | 3 Comments »
May 16, 2012 4:41 pm

Re: “Another old Tacoma church might fall” (TNT, 5-15)

This calls for a reminder that the church is the people, not the building. Tacoma’s grand old church buildings were constructed at a time when they were needed for growing congregations.

For instance, the much bemoaned former First Methodist building at 5th and Martin Luther King Jr. Way was the third building for the congregation. Two others had been outgrown and demolished in turn.

Now, the culture has changed so that big old buildings are not a good home, but rather a dreadful burden. Even their structures do not fit modern needs for access, electronic communication, etc.  First Congregational, beautiful as it may be, has outlived its usefulness. The many stairs alone are a daunting challenge.

Those who want the old buildings preserved need to step forward with the money to preserve and retrofit for new purposes, and let the congregation move on. That has happened with the old First Methodist building in Seattle, now a concert venue, with the congregation in a great new facility in a better part of downtown.

First Methodist in Tacoma is coming alive in new ways because of its move into a building fully accessible and wired for contemporary ministry.

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