A message from Dave Schoen, Minister for Church Legacy & Closure:

Hello Conference Friends,

Thank you for your extraordinary ministries during these trying times. This message includes information on the cost of closing a congregation, ideas for Rethinking Church Buildings video, and ‘The Last Pastor: Faithfully Closing a Church’ Zoom Webinar on May 21st

Cost of closing a congregation:
Several weeks ago I received a question from a pastor in a church that was considering closure who asked what the cost involved in church closure might include. I’ve heard the question before, so I put this list together for the pastor’s information as well as for others. Please let me know if there are additional items that you would include on this list, thanks.

  1. Continued liability insurance for ongoing leadership group and property insurance until building sale and legacy endowment funds are settled.
  2. Legal and Real Estate professional costs.
  3. Severance pay for staff and pastors.  These policies must be written and in place before closure.
  4. Any building upkeep and repairs required for/by church sale.
  5. On-going maintenance of lawn and church property during sale of property.
  6. Security for building if it remains empty for some time.
  7. Clean-up of the building and disposition of church furniture, building and office material.
  8. Collection and distribution of archival material.
  9. Demolition of property if necessary.

Ideas for Rethinking Church Buildings video:
The Walker Leadership Institute at Eden Theological Seminary has prepared videos on Tools for Leadership Courses including Church Finance, ChurchConflict and Church Buildings in conjunction with the UCC Cornerstone Fund, United Church Funds, and UCC Church Building & Loan Fund. Included in videos, I recorded a webinar on Ideas for Rethinking Church Buildings that reviews contemporary uses for church buildings with missional vision and purpose. The videos can be seen for free but require registration through the Walker Institute website.

The Last Pastor: Faithfully Closing a Church’  Zoom Webinar, May 21st at 3:00pm Eastern Time

Rev. Gail Cafferata, author of The Last Pastor: Faithfully Steering a Closing Church will be speaking from her interviews and research with pastors who served closing congregations, as well as her own congregation’s experience. Cafferata helps pastors and church leaders understand the complexity of concluding a ministry with sensitivity to the spiritual and practical dimensions of closing a church.   Register here for The Last Pastor Zoom Webinar on Thursday, May 21st at 3:00 pm Eastern Time. Sponsored by the UCC Church Building & Loan Fund.

Thank you to all who have shared this information with local churches and pastors. Please continue to do so. 

Peace and strength,

Dave Schoen
Minister for Church Legacy & Closure
Church Building & Loan Fund