Sign of the times: 'For sale' outside local church - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Sign of the times: 'For sale' outside local church

NORWOOD, OH (AP) - Now housed in a building larger than its dwindling congregation can afford, Norwood First United Methodist Church in suburban Cincinnati has a large "For sale" sign outside. It's a sign of the times for some older churches, amid demographic and population shifts.

"We have a lot of smaller churches that end up with buildings that are far too expensive to maintain," said Rev. Randy Stearns, superintendent of the Ohio River Valley District of the United Methodist Church, encompassing five counties in southwestern Ohio.

The 104-year-old Norwood church has been losing members as the surrounding community has seen its population decline since the closing of the local General Motors assembly plant in the late 1980s.

"When I started coming here in 1980, if you didn't get to the church service on time, you didn't get a seat," said Wilma Hensler, 83.

Now, however, the congregation numbers fewer than 40, down from more than 900 members recorded before World War II, said the pastor, Rev. Jeffrey Poynter.

Poynter and his flock want to move to an appropriately sized space, but first they must sell their huge church building while struggling to keep current on its bills. Toward that goal, an auction is scheduled for Tuesday to sell off church possessions including furniture, kitchen china and hand bells.

"It's kind of sad," said Hensler, the church trustee and treasurer. "We've done all we can to keep it going."

The Methodist district office would have to approve any sale of the church and its attached two-story annex, which includes a gym and small bowling alley. Within the last two years, two other Methodist churches in the southwest Ohio district - in South Lebanon and in Somerville - have closed because of low membership.

Pastor Poynter said he has faith that his congregation will find a new home where it can grow. And, Hensler is hopeful the magnificent church building will find new life, perhaps as a museum or arts center.

"That would be the answer to my prayers," she said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Dem, GOP leaders to get classified briefings on Russia probe

    Dem, GOP leaders to get classified briefings on Russia probe

    Thursday, May 24 2018 12:42 AM EDT2018-05-24 04:42:28 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 11:56 AM EDT2018-05-24 15:56:13 GMT
    (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin). In this May 23, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Two House lawmakers who are allies of President Donald Tr...(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin). In this May 23, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Two House lawmakers who are allies of President Donald Tr...

    A briefing Thursday about classified documents will be for just two Republican House members, both Trump allies, as Trump and his supporters in Congress press for information on the outside informant.

    Full Story >

    A briefing Thursday about classified documents will be for just two Republican House members, both Trump allies, as Trump and his supporters in Congress press for information on the outside informant.

    Full Story >
  • Trump cancels North Korea summit, blaming 'tremendous anger and open hostility'

    Trump cancels North Korea summit, blaming 'tremendous anger and open hostility'

    Thursday, May 24 2018 9:50 AM EDT2018-05-24 13:50:52 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 11:55 AM EDT2018-05-24 15:55:43 GMT

    "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," according to a statement released by the White House on Thursday.

    Full Story >

    "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting," according to a statement released by the White House on Thursday.

    Full Story >
  • What's next? NFL sparks new questions with anthem policy

    What's next? NFL sparks new questions with anthem policy

    Thursday, May 24 2018 2:32 AM EDT2018-05-24 06:32:12 GMT
    Thursday, May 24 2018 11:54 AM EDT2018-05-24 15:54:22 GMT
    (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File). FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles...(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File). FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles...

    With its popularity threatened and critics stretching all the way to the White House, the NFL tries to get past the debate over taking a knee during the national anthem but seems to muddle the issue even more.

    Full Story >

    With its popularity threatened and critics stretching all the way to the White House, the NFL tries to get past the debate over taking a knee during the national anthem but seems to muddle the issue even more.

    Full Story >
Powered by Frankly