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August 4, 2014 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Every year, about 7,000 churches in the United States close their doors, the Christian ministers' organization Pastoral Care estimates. In some cases, members' numbers have declined, and those who remain cannot support the considerable cost of maintaining the buildings. Many are architectural gems in residential neighborhoods built 100 years ago, when money bought far more stone and stained glass than it does today. Some church structures are being acquired by growing denominations, or congregations established by new immigrant groups.
NEWS
August 1, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
WHEN ALEX JAMES cooked the fish he caught, friends and family gathered around. They were there not only to partake of the delicacies he wrought, but to try to spy out his secret recipes for readying the prizes for the grill, the frying pan or the oven. "You had to watch him," said his daughter, Jill James Idan. "He didn't write anything down. " It was not that Alex wouldn't have shared his recipes. He was a famously generous man. But he was one of those cooks who cooked by instinct.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
LELIA Savannah Smith Holman had a fond memory of the apple tree that grew and flowered on the lot in Germantown where her church was to be built. The tree may be a cherished memory, but when Providence Baptist Church was built on that lot on Haines Street near Germantown Avenue in 1942, Savannah Holman was a founding member. In fact, her name and those of her mother and sisters were placed in the cornerstone when the church was dedicated in 1942. At her death July 19 at age 98, Savannah was the oldest founding member.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Trinity Memorial Church at 22d and Spruce Streets was failing in the summer of 1994, and the few dozen remaining congregants knew it. They talked about selling off the oak pews, or even the chocolate-brown Victorian building itself, but the conversation kept going in circles. The members of the little Episcopal church just couldn't agree what to do. Then, in the midst of their collective soul-searching, the historic church and its congregation were saved, oddly enough, by a bolt of lightning.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | BY DYLAN SEGELBAUM, Daily News Staff Writer segelbd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5917
FOR CELESTE A. Morello, a local historian who has applied for historical markers at various sites in the area for two decades, Old St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, in Society Hill, had the significance worthy of such an honor: It's the oldest Roman Catholic church in Philadelphia. The problem was, no one had prepared the in-depth paperwork. So, with the blessings of the church's pastor, that's exactly what she set out to do before the Dec. 1 deadline. "Because it needed it," said Morello, 56, of Norristown.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
Before the drug trade moved in, the abandoned building at Sheridan and Clearfield Streets in the heart of a troubled North Philadelphia neighborhood housed a grocery store and apartments. Juan Marrero and Ron Muse watched its evolution as they experienced their own: from little boys, to teens involved with drugs, to pastors. In a move to reclaim the building, Marrero and Muse have teamed up to open a church, and have called on an aptly named volunteer group to help. Kingdom Builders Construction, a program of the Mennonite Central Committee - one of the denomination's mission divisions - has enlisted a corps of volunteer youth to help transform what was once a drug house into a sanctuary.
NEWS
July 26, 2014 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson recalls his friend Michael R. Schurman as "the go-to guy in county government. " "When you wanted to get something done, and done right, you went to Michael," he said. After a career as a newspaper, radio, and TV reporter, Mr. Schurman was Atlantic County highway safety director from 1990 to 2011. "He was an extraordinary man," Levinson said. On Sunday, July 20, Mr. Schurman, 71, of Northfield, N.J., died of complications from Alzheimer's disease at his home.
NEWS
July 26, 2014 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
The pastor assured the crowd that his congregation wanted the same things as the residents who are worried about a plan to build a new church in the Hatfield Township neighborhood. "You want open space. We want open space. You want walking trails, we want walking trails," John Cope, pastor of Keystone Fellowship in Montgomeryville, told the standing-room-only audience at the township building. "Softball fields, baseball fields. We want that. " But many neighbors don't want an expansive new building - church or otherwise - in the middle of it all. That difference of opinion is at the core of the church's effort to change the zoning on a 43-acre property it owns, known as the Bishop Tract, to let it build a 75,000-square-foot facility on Orvilla Road.
NEWS
July 20, 2014 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Rev. Frank Schaefer, recently reinstated as a Methodist minister after losing his credentials for presiding over his gay son's wedding, has one more legal battle ahead. The Methodist Church is appealing his reinstatement to its highest judicial board, according to Schaefer. Schaefer, formerly of Lebanon, Pa., and now working as a minister in California, said he wasn't surprised by the move. He said it worried him, but he also sees it as an opportunity for the LGBT cause. "I think it will be great if we could win this," he said.
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