A Serious House No Longer

by Matt Sitman


Spurred by a chance encounter with the former Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, now a retail mall called Limelight Marketplace, B.D. McClay considers the fate of deconsecrated churches, wistfully concluding with these thoughts:

A deconsecrated church is just a pile of stones, I guess, no different from any other. Its not wrong to live or work or do business in that space, or sacrilegious; and yet, the space is too full of its past. I can never get used to them; I walked past a church that had been made into an apartment building every day for almost two years, and I never did stop feeling a little surprised.

Back in 1976, when the Church of Holy Communion was deconsecrated, they covered up some of the reminders that the church had once been a holy place. According to the Marketplaces website, as part of transforming the building into a Festival of Shops,” these details were restored as historically significant.”

Well-yes, in one way. But really, they’re only significant insofar as they aren’t historical, and only historical insofar as they aren’t significant. And that is the trouble with deconsecrated churches; they mean too much, even when they no longer mean anything at all.

(Photo of The Limelight, formerly the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, via Wikimedia Commons)