Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A church gets put to good use

Ah, decadent Europe!

Here I am standing in the science section of a bookstore (in Maastricht, in the Netherlands during my past holiday vacation). Doesn't look like a typical bookstore, you say? Well, they've gotta do something with all those empty old stone churches they have lying around...

My MiL reports there's another one in town that was converted into a café.

(I was reminded of this when Too Many Tribbles posted about a church being turned into a home -- and it turns out she had an earlier post about this bookstore-church!)


Craig said...

Wouldn't it be awesome if in 100 years, churches were musuems, bookstores and cafés instead of tools to delude and extort?

gustav said...

Hmmm... have to say that this would probably in some way raise a ruckus even in Sweden, so the Dutch most likely have us beat. But from what I know, the Church of Sweden is now starting to sell chapel buildings and such, because they aren't in use anymore. Still there are some taboos about possible future uses I think.

Not because of the specific religious meaning of the church perhaps, as few people are religious, but because most people have a feeling of reverence for churches here because they tend to be old cultural landmarks. My old hometown has a church built in 1680 which has been a popular site for school history road trips and such, but I think few kids think about gods and prayer when they go there.

Of course, old buildings like that would probably be turned into museums instead of being sold and made into bingo halls or something of that sort. ;)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Craig!!!

Dare to dream! ;^)

Hey Gustav!!!

I imagine that ones that the ones of greatest cultural/historical significance wouldn't be converted into shops or bingo halls. It might make sense to turn them into museums or cultural centers (for concerts, etc.), depending on the building and its location.

Varina said...

One day you should go to Pittsburgh and see the Beer Church (I think the proper name is church brew works, but all the locals call it the beer church). It is a fantastic old German Catholic church that has been converted to an excellent microbrewery and restaurant. A giant still sits on top of the altar. Most pittsburghers do not find this inappropriate. It is, after all, great beer.

Anonymous said...

In my small New England town a church was turned into a barbecue restaurant aptly named Holy Smokes. The food was incredible and, taking a page from European restaurants, they provided communal dining tables using the pews for seating. Unsurprisingly they received many threats of hellfire and damnation. Eventually someone decided it was best that the church be reduced to a pile of ash than allow it to continue to serve some of the finest barbecue New England has ever seen.

Aerin said...

There is a church locally that was just remodeled to be condos - I've also heard of recording studios, etc.

I think it's great. Why have an empty building in a neighborhood if there isn't a strong congregation? I don't think it's disrespectful.

It's good to use the spaces we already have to benefit the communities - especially if they've been re-modeled/re-fitted with energy saving fixtures (furnaces, etc.)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Sabayon!!!

Wow, sounds fantastic! If I'm ever in Pittsburgh, I will definitely put that on my list!

Hey Corn!!!

See, that's the problem with "God's will" -- there are too many people willing to carry it out when it involves violent or criminal acts...

Hey Aerin!!!

Absolutely! Why demolish a beautiful old building (or leave it standing empty) when it could be put to good use?

Unknown said...

The Vorhees Computing Center at RPI in New York was also an old church. It's pretty awesome to be in an old stone church working on a computer.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, some friends and I had a nice lunch in a little tea room in Ontario; the tea room/gift shop was a renovated rural church. The church, with its dim lights and high ceilings made a lovely setting for this little business.

Craig said...

Um, Beer church = best thing IN TEH WORLD!

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey O.G.!!!

Wow, that's cool!!!

Hey Chaplain!!!

That sounds great!! Wow, it seems like recycling discarded churches isn't as rare as I thought!

Hey Craig!!!

Have you been there? I know it sounds like a great idea. Of course in Europe it would hardly be considered disrespectful to convert a church to a brewery -- some of the best beers have traditionally been made by Trappist monks.

Craig said...

Never been there, but I really want to now.

And yeah, I'm a BIG fan of Trappist ales from Belgium. So delicious.

Miguel said...

Finally using churches for what God intended, relaxing and good learning! : )

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Craig!!!

Yeah, I love trappist Belgian beers too!!!

Hey Miguel!!!

Exactly! If a just God or gods exist, they would totally be down with this. And even more in favor of the beer church. ;^)

Brent said...

That is much more like it. Books are my church, I think.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Brent!!!

Exactly, same here! :D