Church Acquisition Follow-Up

Me at the altar.

After I announced that Krissy and I had purchased a church, many of you had, well, questions. Today I am going to answer some of those questions, and also add some further observations about being the sort of people who now own a whole damn church.

1. To begin, yes, two days in, it continues to feel surreal that we now own a church. It’s one thing to think about it and to make the offer and jump through the various hoops required to purchase real estate these days, and it’s another to actually be handed the keys and be told “congratulations on your new purchase.” It still hasn’t entirely sunk in; I went to the church this afternoon and rattled around in it a bit just to get used to it and I was half-expecting a minister to show up and politely but firmly ask me to step away from the altar. But none did, and if one had, they would be trespassing, not me.

I’ll note that our purchase of the church was slightly precipitate — we have long-term business plans that require office and storage space (which the church provides for, amply), but our original plan was looking a couple years down the line. But when this space went on the market, it was too good for our purposes (and too well-priced) to pass up. We’ve gotten it well in advance of our intended plans for it. This is not a bad thing; it gives us more time to refurb and renovate before we use it on a regular basis. But it was one of those “move fast” opportunities, and we are fortunate we were able to move fast.

But, yeah. Us getting a church was very nearly as much of a surprise to us as it was for the rest of you. It’s very cool! We will do cool things with it! And also, wow, it’s a church and it’s ours now.

2. Some of you were curious as to what conveyed with the church, and the answer to that is: Apparently, everything. It’s not just the space. The former owners (the regional United Methodist conference) left the pews and the chairs and the chandeliers and the church bell and the organ (which used to be a pipe organ but currently is not, although we may correct that in time) and two pianos and two stoves and cups and plates and cutlery and vestments and flags and crosses and big puffy couches from the 70s and, of course, so many bibles. I literally own dozens of bibles now, y’all, along with an equal number of hymn books. One really does get the sense that the former owners were happy to let us deal with getting rid of anything we decided we don’t want. In the short term we will indeed be doing an inventory of the things we want to keep and the things we want to get rid of. On the other hand, hey, I own two pianos and an organ now, to add to my collection of musical instruments. Go me.

3. As to the question of whether the church has been deconsecrated: I have no idea whatsoever. There’s nothing in the legal documents transferring the building over to us that suggests that it has been, and honestly at this point I’m not going to trouble the Methodists to ask. I assume it was? The building stopped being in regular use a couple of years back, and the parishioners transferred to a different church a couple miles down the road. But maybe it wasn’t! We’ll know if vampires try to come into the place, I guess. On a day-to-day basis I don’t suppose it matters. It’s not our intent to use it as a church. As previously promised, we have no plans to start our own religion.

4. Vaguely related to this subject, those of you hoping we’ll do, like, a black mass, or at least something aggressively atheistic at the altar of our new church, should probably settle down a tick. Most of you know I’m not religious in any sense, but I’m not particularly aggressive about that with others, and even if I were, I have no intention of antagonizing my neighbors in this small, rural, conservative and fairly religious little town of ours, which even with this church (literally) out of commission still has eight active churches for a population of just over 1,800 people. To the extent that the building and what we do in it will be outwardly facing to the community, we want to be welcoming, and welcomed. It’s not difficult to be good neighbors.

5. For everyone asking whether I’m going to use the sanctuary area as a music studio, I’ll say the thought had occurred to me, and today as I was visiting I stood on the altar and sang to check out the acoustics, which as it happens are quite nice. However, it’s not likely I will use the sanctuary area as a music studio exclusively, since I just set up a music room in my basement, and also, I need to become far more competent in playing my instruments generally. Guess what’s high on my list of things to do in 2022?

6. Again, we’re still wrapping our heads around the fact this church is ours now — and now that we have it, it’s fun to think of all the possibilities it offers. This is definitely a work in progress, and one that will be in progress probably for a couple of years at least. If you’re wondering if I’m taking up any hobbies, well. This is it. Let’s see where it takes us.

— JS

110 Comments on “Church Acquisition Follow-Up”

  1. I’m so excited for you both. I think this is just great. It’s a beautiful space, and I look forward to hearing about the fun things you’re going to do with it. Cheerleading you from the Berkshires (where we repurpose all kinds of cool spaces).

  2. medusaslibrary – Birmingham, AL – I am a school librarian and PA for Drew Williams, who moonlights in acting and making jewelry. I love books so much that I just have to share them!
    Sara Glassman

    If you have a chance at some point, could you post pictures of the stained glass, please?

  3. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I first saw this and think, “Good for them” for buying a church.

    It so reminds me of Arlo Gutherie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”

  4. In my experience (I grew up Methodist, but before the United part), the hymnal is excellent: and, indeed, I own a copy. (copyright 1866, 843 hymns–those in your church may be newer). That’s how I learned part singing and how to read music, And how to type piano.

  5. bethovermyer – Beth Overmyer is the author of several works of genre fiction, the fantasy trilogy THE GOBLETS IMMORTAL being among them. Fueled by tea, loved by cats everywhere, she balances her home life with writing novels and leading a creative writing group at her local library.
    Beth Overmyer

    Congrats on your purchase! That’s wild :D

  6. Not gonna lie, I would want to keep the organ until I could play something suitably gothic, possibly while in evening formalwear and cape, around the Halloween season.

  7. If you decide the part with those hymnals there are a bunch of us church musicians out here who’d love to take one off your hands. Maybe more than one.

    Also, I’d love a Whatever post on the stained glass windows if you are so inclined.

  8. In my neck of the woods, the standard price for a church is $1. The maintenance and renovation costs mean that a $1 church is more expensive than building from scratch. Hopefully you’ve budgeted for that.

  9. Gorgeous building, can’t wait to see what you do with it.

    As for a name — if you’re not going to call it Old Man’s Worship Facility, I’ll just have to do so silently in my head.

  10. Nice! If you have not picked a name yet, may I suggest:

    The First Church of The Consu
    All air breathing aliens are welcome.

    The presiding pastor is Reverend John Perry. CDF, MP-35 and member of the BrainPal Society.

  11. Bryan:

    We paid more than that, and the building is actually in good shape. The repairs we have to make are relatively minor, and the renovations largely cosmetic.

  12. As a lifelong Methodist (but no longer), I am fairly certain that churches don’t get deconsecrated in that faith. As a religion, my impression of them (boy that feels weird) is that they’re fairly casual about that sort of thing.

    Now, if you have a potluck without jello, there’s gonna be words.

  13. When I saw the interior picture, my though was, he didn’t buy a new guitar, he bought an organ. And a place to put it.

  14. I found a listing for the property online, and it looks good, at least as far as you can see from the pictures. I like seeing the relatively modern HVAC equipment in the basement.

    One piece of advice from a guy who does commercial property for a living: Stash away money for roof repair. There’s always going to be roof repair.

  15. Choral concert series! A good chunk of the choral repertoire was written to be performed in churches.

  16. First thought: Author signed bibles for charity sale? (Not the author OF the Bible, mind you, but AN author)

  17. Does the church give you more workspace than you were anticipating you would need for your planned office/storage area?

    If this space is substantially larger than your projected needs, how about offering that favorite local bookstore some below-market rent?

  18. Oh, the possibilities.

    When we were looking at Wallowa County properties, the husband was briefly enticed by the prospect of buying a church. However. Wrong town, run-down, and…that said, here it would be easy to set up a dance/yoga/arts space that would be used. Oh. And a recording studio (there’s several here).

    Just not the project for two people in our 60s.

  19. My first thought was, “Music” and it sounds like you’re already there.

    Beautiful stained glass.

    Not a new religion–but writers workshops, maybe? You don’t have to be the workshop leader of course.

  20. Did you have a building inspector look over the place before you bought it? Because there may be some water infiltration issues from the looks of the wall and ceiling behind the pulpit, what with the staining and peeling paint. If the ceiling is plaster you do not want it getting waterlogged and falling down, possibly on top of you.

    Maybe first offer the bibles and hymnals to the local (individual) Methodists? Some of them may like to have a copy for home.

  21. I LOVE THE SIGN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. The country church in Indiana where I went as a little kid is now a recording studio. It’s next to the cemetery where my parents and grandparents are buried, which was not part of the sale, fortunately. I assume, since you didn’t mention it, that your church didn’t come with a cemetery.

  23. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.
    TimELiebe

    This is a sitcom, right? You are filming a sitcom.

    No, better – a reality sitcom!

    WE BOUGHT A CHURCH! The comic misadventures of John and Krissy Scalzi as they navigate how to turn a former Methodist place of worship into non-sectarian office space…and a music studio for John!

  24. Commented by Jim Bush:

    > One piece of advice from a guy who does commercial property for a living: Stash away money for roof repair. There’s always going to be roof repair.

    I always had two questions about this.
    1. After thousands of years living and working in buildings, it stuns me that we primates have not solved The Roof Problem by now.
    2. Can a society that has not successfully solved The Roof Problem hope to solve similar problems? Will The Roof Problem ever be solved in any form? Does the hull or dome take the role of the ever-failing roof? And should we not expect hulls to leak eternally, bringing the story of our hero and heroine to a rapid end?

    Put aside money for that rainy day.

  25. Please please please tell me you have rung the bell??? :)

    And that you have plans to ring it… peridocally?

    I think that was the most exciting item you mentioned being part of the purchase. I real life church bell! I like the idea of having a way to signal the community about different things happening.

    “Ooooh, 2 bells! It’s burrito time!!”

  26. “As to the question of whether the church has been deconsecrated”

    Easy. Ask some Highlanders to come in. Then ask them to fight.
    If they say, “Nah, bro, can’t do that”, it’s still consecrated.

  27. Congratulations on joining the two pianos and an organ club.

    Though your former pipe organ is much larger than the late 70s electronic organ that I inherited.

  28. The question I’d have for you is this: given a church is designed to be a place of worship, with ample space for a congregation, a choir, a minister, and that pipe organ, how well does that conform to what you want to do with said space? Essentially, will remodeling be necessary, and if so how much?

  29. Congratulations! This is really cool, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll do with the space. My husband and I just bought a beach house! We close in the beginning of January. I’m just as in awe that we have done the thing as you are of your acquisition. I hope we all have great decorating luck over the next few years.

  30. I’ve been a member of the United Methodist Church all my life, and I’m fairly sure that you don’t need to deconsecrate the building. Just move in. Congratulations on your purchase!

  31. Hope Griffin Diaz – North Carolina – So, to borrow from a popular shirt, I love Jesus but I cuss a little. Well, a lot. In fact, I just don't believe Jesus really gives a shit about the word 🤬 I am married to the love of my life, Louie (aka Luis) and have an adult child, Christy. Reading transports me to places that are inaccessible to me right now. Whether those places address in space or in areas I'm unable to travel, I am grateful for books and authors who keep my mind occupied. I fancy myself an amateur gardener, I am owned by a large black purr machine maine coon cat named Samwise aka #SamSam and a Border Collie/Australian Cattle dog mix named Daisy. I knit. I craft. I sew. These are at my leisure and are hobbies. I don't take commissions nor do I do alterations. I'm an aspiring human being. I battle several mental illnesses including depression, major panic disorder, agoraphobia, germaphobia, claustrophobia, and some other assorted illnesses. I also have fibromyalgia and have had numerous traumatic brain injuries (into the double digits now). I am not able to drive at night.
    Hope Diaz

    John, of all the things I thought I would read in my email this was not ever on my radar. I must have missed the first email.

    By personal belief is a church is a building. As for consecration, I associate that more with Catholicism and Pentecostal churches. I may be wrong.

    Um, if you find a bunch of old coffee cans with ashes in them you might want to contact another local church as those may possibly be the remains of former church members. Seriously. Tales from the #Presbyterian memorial garden.

  32. My wife is a Methodist minister and I’ve been through a few church closings. There’s always a final service to say goodbye that includes deconsecrating the property. I’m sure they did that. It would not be your responsibility, in any case.

    It’s also customary that they would take the most important things: crosses, communion chalices, etc. If this church was given up as a result of a merger, this congregation’s most valued treasures would presumably be transferred to the church where the combined congregation meets. The stuff they left behind they presumably didn’t want, although I’m surprised they left so much. It would be customary to invite other Methodist churches to come and look the stuff over and take whatever they thought they could use, but I guess you got what no one wanted.

    Hymnals are valued by musicians and are usually worth something.

  33. Heteromeles – Heteromeles is the genus of toyon, a shrub in the rose family that occurs from San Francisco south to Baja California. It is the "holly" of Hollywood fame
    Heteromeles

    Environmentalist here.

    Any way to sweet-talk you into turning that nice belfry into a bat roost? It would help the local farmers and gardeners with some free pest control.

    I figured I’d get my bid in before the wireless companies came around asking to lease it as an antenna site.

  34. Besides Methodists, I never knew there was such a thing as deconsecrating.

    When we smudge a room to make an experience sacred, I just assume that after we leave the smoke and spirit dissipate from not being needed.

  35. You have inspired me. I’ve told Martha that if she makes enough, someday I want to buy an old Masonic Lodge and start my own Secret Society. Membership roster will, of course, remain secret, but I intend to publicly list everyone that is blackballed, whether they actually applied or not ;)

  36. Alright, the intended use of the building is a Interval-of-time off from being used from its purpose.

    What about readings “in the round” while you work towards said purpose?

    I.e. invite people into the space for your, or – quite specifically – others public readings?

    You would have enough space to make it safe, and before any needed renos its purpose built for casting voice throughout the space.

    Potentially a nice intro to “new owners who aren’t dicks” to your community.

    … … and I am straight up projecting what I would do with a church-like space.

    But heck its fun to put a postulate out to reality wherein said postulate could occur!

  37. John — Congrats on being the new owner of a lovely church. It looks perfectly stunning! Don’t know what your plans are for it, but if you’re considering turning it into a music venue, I’d be interested in driving up there to play a couple sets, given how scarce open music venues are right now in Cincinnati.

  38. This is Scalzi we’re talking about, so it’s a good thing the fire department is two blocks north.

    As for ringing the bell periodically, what you need to do is ring it a-periodically and therefore leave the neighbors guessing.

  39. I found the slideshow for the church online. A lot to faunch over.

    Back a few years ago, a Twitter meme inspired me to write a novelette largely set in a church. Your real-life church is almost point for point a match for my imaginary church. The story hasn’t sold (markets for 13K+ pulp-style stories are…limited). But in the back of my mind, I’ve always thought “Damn, this story would make a good movie.”

    So…assuming my recent dabbling in writing screenplays again gets any traction, and that I’m struck by a very large bolt of lightning made of unadulterated luck in the very near future…movie set? (Though you might not want 30-50 feral hogs rampaging thru your church. Yeah, it was that meme.)

  40. Put me down as another person who might want a hymnal; they’re awesome resources for older music and as someone who grew up in various religious traditions (and at least one cult), the music is the only thing from religion that I’ve held on to.

    Perhaps a good fundraiser, selling off the books?

  41. Whatever you do with it, it’ll be amazing and fun—I hope, sincerely. I won’t consider asking you if you’ll host a meeting for the Followers of the Magnetic Monopole… 😉

  42. It’s not the correct venue, but it has an organ. So, are we going to see pictures of you dressed up as the Phantom of the Opera next to the organ?

  43. Preach it, brother!

    The first picture just made my day 😆.

    James Martin:
    You obviously haven’t been inside an Eastern European orthodox church… boy are they bleak and chilly! I wouldn’t want to be buried in one, let alone live…

  44. Regarding “how much remodeling will be necessary/yeah it’s big but it’s designed for worship”:

    I haven’t looked at the listing. But please do remember that worship is actually only one out of many things that happen every week in a healthy congregation. A church built for a congregation the size that could fit in that sanctuary will have, at minimum: multiple classrooms, a social hall and commercial kitchen, and at least two offices (minister and secretary). There might also be any number of other things, ranging from the large end (a gymnasium!) to the small end (a shitton of walk-in closets).

    With a sanctuary that big, I guarantee you there’s enough usable space to run your average small/medium-sized business without ever touching the sanctuary.

    Also, on the subject of selling old Bibles and hymnals: there’s a reason the Methodists didn’t take them with them. Anyone in the congregation who wanted one has already taken home as many as they want. Anybody in the community who wanted one has probably already gotten one through friends/family who were members. There are enough congregations closing and/or consolidating these days that old hymnals and Bibles are a dime a dozen. I highly doubt you could find anybody in the community willing to pay for one (because they already got what they wanted) and while you might find someone from out of the area interested in that particular Methodist hymnal, I’m not sure you’d find one willing to pay enough for it to cover the cost of shipping it.

  45. It has a tower.

    I’ve always wanted to own a tower.

    Don’t care about the church part, but… damn. A tower.

    I’m jealous.

  46. That’s wonderful, congratulations to you both. A lot bigger than the church my first wife and I bought (we used ours as our first home, though). Ours was a 100 year old Methodist church with original stained glass windows and attached bell tower. The bell had been removed and the top of the tower glassed in with (of all things) sliding glass doors. Really nice place to spend an afternoon reading or watching passing storms, right up until that one time lightning hit it and I realized I was sitting at the top of a three story wrought metal staircase. :-) That was, uh… definitely the last time I did that.

    Good luck with your plans! Looking forward to seeing what you do with the space.

  47. dann665 – A generally libertarianish critter that has been loving sci-fi and fantasy since the age of 10. Give or take. For more, check out my blog at http://libertyatallcosts.blogspot.com
    dann665

    If “secret plans for the future” happens to include “craft brewery”, then I’ll make the trip.

    Good luck with whatever y’all have up your sleeves.

    Regards,
    Dann
    War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. John Stuart Mill

  48. Well, as many have noted this is a beautiful space and dang, a tower! I would want to go up and just ring a bell occasionally. Call the towns people together…

    Just a heads up. Next time I see you at a con I will start with “Father Scalzi, forgive me for being behind in my reading…” ;-)

    Congrats to you and your wife on the new place. Can’t wait to see what you two do with it.

  49. In all seriousness I am a friend of the hospital chaplain, she says they’re always in need of Bibles. I recommend contacting your local hospital and talking to the chaplains and see if they will take the Bibles off your hands. People tend to contact the hospital chaplain and ask for a Bible and then take it with them when they leave the hospital.

  50. It’s all very Alice & Ray Brock/Alice’s Restaurant/Eurythmics. Recording studio? Arts center? Baking school? Of course, I was raised in a barn over the period when it was being transformed from practicing shelter for animals, forage, and cowshit to House Funky-Beautiful, so my first thought is: where’s the master bedroom going to be?

    The windows are particularly nice.

  51. The local amateur radio community might appreciate some space in one of those towers to put up a repeater. Check with local clubs, see if any of them have interest. It would help both public safety and local STEM education!

  52. Old churches, if they are in good shape (as this certainly appears to be), are great buildings, generally well-built and inviting.

    Question- assuming you got the pipe organ up and running, what would be the song you’d want to play on it to really make the rafters rattle?

    Me, I’m picking the Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

  53. I too found the online listing for the building and I almost fell out of my seat when I saw the price. You weren’t kidding about getting a good deal! Man, that’s like pocket change and a years worth of sofa cushion money there! My wife the antique dealer says it would make a great antique store. Congratulations!

  54. I am so deeply jealous while being really happy for you guys.
    I have fantasized for years about acquiring a beautiful old church to use for a community arts center and creative space.
    I look forward to seeing what you guys do with all that amazing space!

  55. Pipe organ: “used to be a pipe organ but currently is not, although we may correct that in time” suggests that the time came for a major renovation and the money wasn’t there, so they left the pipes in place and installed an electronic organ. The thing with pipe organs is that they have a gazillion moving parts and are specifically designed to blow air, and therefore dust, through everything. The result is that they need regular maintenance and a major overhaul about every fifty years or so. Oh, and to a good first approximation they are all custom built. (Note that word: pipe organs are built, not manufactured.)

    The upshot is that the organ absolutely could be restored. There still are organ builders, and a lot of what they do is actually maintenance and renovation work. But… It won’t come cheap. My church went through this a few years back, as the organ clearly was going one day in the not-distant future to collapse in a pile of dust. There was a lot of discussion, including the electronic organ route. (This too has issues, though different ones from pipe organs.) We ended up paying for the major renovation (which meant that there were bits and pieces that could be reused). The price was in the mid-to-high six figures.

    The point is that a pipe organ is like a pet: a major commitment with long term implications, not to be entered into lightly. Absent a really good reason to commit to it, a pipe organ is a nearly automatic white elephant.

  56. Hey, besides hospitals, I know who needs Bibles: The Gideons, to put in hotels. Oh, but maybe they only want the New Testament. (I never look to find one, as I already have a Bible, and I don’t believe the urban myth that people put money in them)

    I once found a Gideon Bible in a hospital basement.

    While a European noted that God lives in the American west, I am amused that we can be so sane on this topic; meanwhile the extremists in the war on terror are foaming at the mouth.

  57. The interior really looks like they just walked out one Sunday afternoon and locked the door behind them. Did they really leave the parament on the pulpit? Or did you pull it out of a drawer to spiff up the place? If so, congratulations. You used the right one for the season.

    I suspect the underlying reality is that there is no resale market for this stuff. Back in the day, they would have sold off what they could. A new church might pick up the pews, for example. But this sort of thing is not a growth market. My guess is that anything of historic or sentimental value was taken with them, but that this wasn’t much. Also any real silver, maybe.

    Deconsecration: I don’t have specific knowledge about Methodist theology, but my guess is that they don’t really have that concept like you see in movies. That is just the sort of thing that would be rejected as Popish. While “Popish” is not a compelling argument in the modern UMC, a century ago it was. In my church (ELCA–the liberal version of American Lutheran) I would expect a new church to involve a ceremony, but it would be more like a house warming: the bishop would come out, say a few suitable words, then we would enjoy donuts and church coffee. As for shutting a church down? I’m not sure, but my guess is that there is nothing, much as you don’t have a party when you move out, unless you count buying pizzas for the friends you co-opted into helping you move.

  58. @Jason: “Old churches, if they are in good shape (as this certainly appears to be), are great buildings, generally well-built and inviting.”

    In this case I think you are right, but it varies wildly. This is a brick town church, as is typical of Methodist churches in the Midwest. The Baptist church five miles away out in the countryside is likely to be a wood frame building. These can be just fine if well maintained, but many weren’t. Even in good times, those places tended to be underfunded. Building maintenance was an easy place to cut costs.

    As for this fine brick building, were I considering this purchase I would want an inspection by someone who understands roofs of this type, whatever that it. This again is a likely area for deferred maintenance for a shrinking congregation. Even if there is no water intrusion, it could well be that it is due for a new roof, which will make that selling price less impressive.

    My church’s sanctuary is a bit over two centuries old, which is nearly as old as they get in the US. The saving grace is that German Lutherans regard building maintenance as the third sacrament. Tell us the building needs a new roof and we will blanche, sit down and drink a beer, and then figure out how to pay for it.

  59. Is the bell functional? I mean sure, a bill is just a big chunk of metal. It is functional unless it is cracked, like that cheap hunk of bronze they have in Philadelphia. But there are moving parts. It is possible that this is done by someone pulling a rope, but it is more likely to be electrified, with everything that implies. There are two approaches to ringing a bell. The cooler, and louder, way is to move the body of the bell, but bells are heavy. This requires more equipment that can break. The other way is to move the clapper. This is much less cool, but often more practical to maintain.

  60. Richard Hershberger:

    In the future please aggregate your posts rather than to post several in a row, thank you.

    Also, the bell does indeed work; I rang it when we bought the place. I don’t intend to ring it very often, however.

  61. Wondering if the Scalzi menagerie will be allowed access to the church property? I’m hoping for a moment where ol’ Smudge stands on the roof of the church, looks out over the whole of Bradford and gets his Lion King jollies on.

  62. fiveminutewoodworker – A wood worker, stepfather, writer, poet, blacksmith, and procrastinator, I get into a lot of interests... some of them even stick. Along the way, I'll share a little bit of what I find interesting, and maybe learn a little more about the wonderful magical world we live in. While I do spend a lot of time with a lot of hobbies, somehow I still find time to find the absurd or enjoy simple things. Especially if it's on the computer, tablet, or phone (and occasionally the TV).
    Jeremy Hopkins

    If you have some time as owners before needing to use/renovate the space into something else, might I suggest reaching out to Fine Woodworking for an opportunity for them to review some of the larger furniture pieces? They’re not that far from you, and may be able/willing to take some examples off your hands for reproduction.

    Just a thought. (I can’t be the only person who wanted to make pews when I was younger. And hey! You wrote pew pews! Go for the hat trick!)

  63. Chris – Seattle – I've written a couple of unpublished novels, played in a few unsigned bands, and had a 25-year career in journalism, with multiple awards to my name. I also enjoy cats.
    Chris W

    I foresee a kickass performance venue, maybe with a little ground-floor cafe, with office space above (or next to it) for ConsoliScalzi Global Domination Corp. Or, since you seem like a not-evil person, probably more like The Scalzi Family Foundation for Improving Everything (registered 501(c)3 for tax deductible purposes). Enjoy your new possession!

  64. I, for one, am looking forward to Meow Wolf (somewhere in Ohio)

  65. Is the large brick house across the street a private residence? The one with the porte cochere and the FALLOUT SHELTER sign facing the front of your new church.

  66. Troyce mentions buying a Masonic hall. As late as the movie American Graffiti people would join things like the Moose hall, or a political club like Podkayne’s uncle. I blame television and digital stuff for giving us an excuse to cocoon.

    Over in Africa, people still need each other.

  67. Do I assume that an (electronic) organ console lurks behind that curtain below the pipes? And have you been able to find out whether those are actual speaking pipes, or just replicas?

    I suspect you may come up against some sticker shock when you start considering a real pipe organ, whether finding (and relocating) an existing one, or comi$$ioning a new one. And any pipe organ needs a certain amount of infrastructure…and qualified support personnel.

    With modern sampling technique, an electronic “pipe” organ can sound very real, right down to the “chiff” as the valve for each pipe opens and the “thupp” as it closes. But it looks like there’s enough room in that organ enclosure not only for the speakers of a modern electronic organ, but a big Leslie speaker for a Hammond B3 as well…

  68. I think it would make an awesome SF/F library, but also teaching space for kids to learn how to be writers and get stuff published and maybe also some sort of art corner for sculptors and painters.

    If I had money and opportunity, I think that’s what I would love to do. Summer camps for workshop weeks and so on, sponsored for disadvantaged kids to participate.

  69. Congratulations! I hope the upkeep on the building doesn’t get too onerous. Looking forward to how you use the announcement board outside. And will you be posting reading requirements on the little board usually found inside the church for the attendees to know what passage to read next?

  70. It looks wonderful! I am Building/Office Manager for an old church (built in 1910) with a tower. We have a digital service that plays scheduled “chimes” that the neighbors really enjoy (at least the ones that call the church-lol). We lease the sanctuary for concerts & rehearsals, as well as office & rental space to various non-profits. We currently work with a national company to assist us with maintenance and restoration for our many original stained-glass windows. So much history here!

  71. Why does this thing about 27 8×10 color GLOSSY photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back keep running through my head?

  72. Wow – that’s a major, major investment. You got a phenomenal price on it. I can’t help but think you’re going to spend a very long time repurposing it. I’m agnostic but really appreciated your stance about being disrespectful to the church building. No point in antagonizing your community, and really, no point in being a jerk. Best of luck with it – I’m sure if you and Krissy pulled the trigger like that, then you’ve got some specific plans for it. I look forward to seeing what you’re going to do with it.

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