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Different religious denominations/congregations sharing places of worship?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
This issue might just be restricted to Europe, which is becoming more and more secular by the day, to the point where churches are being closed, priests and pastors are being "imported" from Asia, Africa, India, and North America, and one priest/pastor/rabbi/imam has to hold masses/services in several churches/temples/mosques every Sabbath.

Here in Germany, a "church tax" is automatically deducted from your wages, and transferred to the denomination you've indicated, unless you "officially" have no religious affiliation. Hence, there are no collection baskets, "block collections", or tithing.

In several areas of the country, the two major Christian denominations, Lutheran and Roman Catholic, are considering sharing church buildings in order to save costs.

What do you think? "SPIEGEL", one of Germany's leading news magazines, conducted a survey in January, and 79% of the respondents were in favor of such sharing (81% of Lutherans, 88% of Catholics), while just 13% were against it (13% of Lutherans, 9% of Catholics; other respondents replied that they didn't have an opinion).

I live in a tiny (pop. 9,600) semi-rural town, and we have three churches: Catholic, Lutheran, and Seventh-Day Adventist. People of other religious persuasions, and there are many, have to travel to other towns/cities to worship.
post #2 of 25
WHY not ???

But I was brought up with many different religions taught to me //
post #3 of 25
I don't think it's a bad idea, especially when the religious sects that would be sharing the building are so closely related. Seems like a very good way to share the costs and save some money.
post #4 of 25
Voted "no opinion". Could not care less.
post #5 of 25
I think it's a good idea. In western NE, the population is so low that different denominations sharing a building has been going on for years. I actually went into one of the buildings and it was really interesting. The pews are reversible, and on one side was the Catholic alter, the other side Lutheran. There was a curtain on either side to block off the altar area, depending on which church service was being done.
post #6 of 25
We share our "church" with other groups. In fact, it's sort of part of our faith that we do so.
post #7 of 25
I didn't turn away from religion until I was older but as a child my sister and I would spend a weekend every summer at my Aunt and Uncle's house. On Sunday we had to go church with them. We were baptized Roman Catholic. If I remember correctly they belonged to a Methodist church. Keep in mind that I was a child but I really didn't notice a difference in the masses.
post #8 of 25
It would save money but I see some potential problems. One is timing of the services. Most church services are between 9:30 - 12:00 and it would be hard to juggle the different faiths wanting to hold services.

And then some have different "setups" (like all the saints, etc. for Catholics) that the other demoninations don't believe in. So where would all that be set up?

I'm not sure it would work out too well. And even if you have one big church, unless you made the different faiths have their own rooms - who would get the main room? And what about Sunday School for the kids?

I can see a few different faiths working some arrangements - but only if they had similar beliefs. Like Evangelicals, Luthern, Baptist probably could share a church better then Catholics, Mormons, etc.

Of course you would then have to throw in Jewish, Muslums, Buddists, etc - those that are non-Christian.
post #9 of 25
I think that's a good idea. Not only because it would save money, but it would also bring more interfaith dialogue. Then maybe people would realize that there are more similarities than differences between religions, and that people of other religions don't fit into simple stereotypes.
post #10 of 25
This is extremely common in the area of Los Angeles that I first lived in -- at least among the Protestant churches. The older churches are very large and build to mimic the cathedrals of Europe. Their congretations have mostly moved out to the suburbs or wealthier areas and the newcomers are mostly more recent immigrants.

The immigrants rent the churches earlier and later than the main services. It's not unusual to have a Korean evangelical church succeeded by a Spanish language one, then the main service of the Congregational church following. Once the immigrant churches are able to raise the money, they buy or build their own church building.

Of course the owner of the building keeps control of what rooms etc., and when they are willing to rent.
post #11 of 25
I think it's a great idea! It would be hard with my church, because it is a VERY traditional Catholic church. It was built back in the 1800's and has the hand carved alters, HUGE stained glass windows, statues of saints everywhere, so maybe a lot of demonominations wouldn't feel comfortable there, but then again I've been in Episciple churches and they look pretty much the same.

Saddly, I don't think the church is going to be able to stay open much longer. They've already had to close the school and tear down the monastery because population in the area has dropped so much, and people just don't think the church is that important anymore. All the churches in the area are having the same problem, so maybe just sharing 1 building would be the best answer.
post #12 of 25
I think it is great and sends a good message. It happens all the time here.

Our Pastor invited a Jewish Rabbi to come preach one Sunday.
post #13 of 25
Military bases have had multi-denominational chapels, for as long as I can remember. Protestant, Catholic and Jewish services are all scheduled at different times, each with their own chaplain. These days, I think that Muslim services have been added, too.

Frequently, when a congregation loses its building (fire or natural disaster), another congregation will extend the use use of its facilities.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm actually surprised that so many people posting here have experience with multi-denominational facilities. I guess I still have U.S. Catholic parishes of the sixties and seventies in mind, with plenty of priests, a convent, and four or five masses every Sunday. I think one of the ones I lived in really benefited from having Sly Stallone as a parishioner at the time he became famous with the first "Rocky" film, though. Attendance really shot up!

It's so different here. My in-laws attend our town's Catholic church, which shares one priest with the neighboring town's church. There's an Anglican church with an American pastor in the city where I work, and I know from colleagues and students who attend that the congregation consists of a lot of British, Irish, American, and Australian ex-pats of all religious affiliations, who appreciate English-language services.
post #15 of 25
Off the top of my head I can think of two specific situations in this city, where congragations/parishes have merged or rented out space to other denominations, and it's far from unusual.

In one situation, an Anglican parish and a United Church congregation were located across the street from each other. Each was experiencing diminishing membership, and increasing maintenance costs. They put their heads together, decided which property to redevelop, moved both congregations in there while they tore down the church on the other, and rebuilt to their new needs. When it was ready for occupancy, they moved everything across the street, tore down the other church and built an assisted living centre. That was about 15 years ago, and they're doing fine. They have their services at different times, and share use of the rest of the space.

Other situations are not as dramatic as that, but the cooperation is there in spades. Another Anglican parish for many years had a rental agreement whereby a Catholic parish used their worship space. The Catholic parish now has its own space and there's another denomination (forget which) renting from the Anglican parish.

I'm all for it.
post #16 of 25
To be honest I can remember when I was on a military base with my Dad once. He wanted to go to Church, so we walked over to the small area where it was going to be held. As we walked in the Muslim prayer service was ending. Afterwards the Priest (Catholic) and the Imam helped convert the space over for the Catholic ceremony. All the worshipers Catholic or Muslim helped set out chairs, switch the podium over, and set up the space for the next worshipers.
post #17 of 25
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I can see a few different faiths working some arrangements - but only if they had similar beliefs. Like Evangelicals, Luthern, Baptist probably could share a church better then Catholics, Mormons, etc.
Interesting comment. Most definitely not the Baptist church our daughter's boyfriend's parents attend. They won't even speak to our daughter because she is Catholic.

Back on topic, I think it's a wonderful idea and the different denominations can have their service at different times. Splendid way for all to save money and put it to better use than maintaining several "churches".
post #18 of 25
Sharing a building is fine, but I see more conflicts with timing on Sundays. Jewish hold their services on Saturday (I think). Not sure what day for Muslims. And Catholics have a very early workship service. But the majoirity of the other Christian churches hold their services between 10-12 - so that's where some of the conflict might be a problem.
post #19 of 25
I guess that I would have to be "no opinion". I feel that this is something that should be totally up to the host and guest congregations and how they feel about the matter. There shouldn't be a right or wrong about it, just depends entirely on if the parishioners are willing and comfortable with sharing spaces.
post #20 of 25
You know what?

This is pretty commonplace. Well my impression of Australia anyway. My mother's Christian Church shares the same building and church as a Lutheran group.

The Worship Centre at my university caters for all religions, Chrisitian, Catholic, Islam, Buddhism and so forth.

Of course services are held at different times.
post #21 of 25
I also chose 'no opinion' I don't believe in organized religion......
post #22 of 25
This wouldn't be too difficult if everyone is just a teensy bit understanding/tolerant.

You see this type of thing pretty often, really, even here where there are like 5 churches/temples/etc on every block. In hospitals, airports, non-religious-affiliated wedding chapels, 'prayer' rooms in bigger office buildings/workplaces, etc.

They're always decorated in a way that you could walk in and say 'Oh, this is a house of worship' but you could never say what of.

I don't think scheduling would be that big a deal. Here, maybe, the services are always at whatever time, but as Jcat has painted the picture, I imagine people can be pretty flexible about it.
post #23 of 25
I think it's a good idea. My old church used to extend a warm welcome to a smaller church of a different denomination whos building was burned down during a fire. We all got along well and understood that no matter what slight variances we held personally- we were all there to learn, to love our neighbors, and to worship God....i think it's good for churches to open up their hearts to other churches that might need a place to worship and reach out to other congregations.

I would be upset if my church did nothing while another church needed help. I think that it's our job to minister to all people of all religions- not just be particular to our own. What kind of example would that be?
post #24 of 25
On High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), our synagogue is full with adults and teens. There is a special kids service that is held in a Presbyterian Church. There are very few Christian artifacts. The church does many good things for our community.
post #25 of 25
When I was young, a church in the area burned down. Our church opened up their doors and gave them the social hall to use as their sanctuary for over a year. Needless to say, both congregations mingled, the pastors would give services for each other, and things worked out very nicely. Both churches were protestant, but of very different sects. It was a good thing all around.
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