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Chicago has a variety of religious denominations with buildings and physical locations. As the culture of practicing religions has changed and evolved over the years, urban churches have struggled to maintain fiscal and physical sustainability on their campuses as well as adapt to serving various needs in their community and congregations. Oftentimes, serving the church mission lacks the congregational support financially to continue to operate spaces such as sanctuaries and meeting rooms. The individual parish belonging to a larger denominational network also complicates operational and capital decision-making.


What decision-making framework can church leaders use to make decisions around the use of their buildings and campuses for their congregation, their mission, and parish sustainability?


Through the Future of Churches project, our team will engage with the United Methodist Church at one of their Chicago parishes and develop a decision-making framework for church leaders to develop programming and tenants in their various facilities, bearing in mind the needs of the congregation, mission, and the larger neighborhood environment. We will provide typology reference guides to various spaces, including the sanctuary, recreational room and offices to help churches think about different uses. We will also help to explore the regulation and sustainability of each type of use chosen by a church, for example paid/unpaid, commercial/non-profit.

Spring 2018


Charlie Barlow

Elle Ramel

Laura Nussbaum-Barberena

Alice Walker-Lampani

Eleanor Sheers

Kevin Dunphy

Curtis Witek

Jonathan Fair

Eli Lechter

Lindsey Conklin

Nina Sandlin

Jonathan Grant

Kiara Hardin

Randy Colon

Presentation > Final Session (April 30, 2018)

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