Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Karate Church!

When businesses expand or go under, their buildings are sold to other businesses who set up where their predecessors once ran, just as when one family leaves a home, another family moves in. But what happens when an old downtown church moves to a new location?

There's hardly a large number of fledgeling New England churches looking to set up shop in a cheap location, nor can one just demolish a house of God to make room for a new CVS pharmacy. The solution, then, is to rent out the space to a business who can use it, with curious results.

Master An's Tae Kawn Do Academy is located in Bedford, New Hampshire, just past the Everett Turnpike on the toll-skipping route between Manchester and Nashua. I stopped there on a Sunday to take some pictures.

As you can see, the door has been covered with a painting of traditional Eastern dragons, and the tall side windows painted with Chinese characters. I sadly did not get a chance to go inside and see how they had remodeled the main hall (if at all).

Afterward, I remembered that New Testament story about Jesus going into the temple and driving away all the peddlers and shopkeepers who were selling their wares there. If doing business in the Lord's house is wrong, then is it still wrong if the congregation has moved to a new location? When does a church stop being a church? (Think about this one for a minute.) If the congregation moves for a few years and then comes back, is the church still sacred ground while the congregation is gone? Is there a ceremony that happens after a church is shut down to desanctify the building? Or will a church always be a church long after the congregation has moved on to a large suburban location with a two-acre parking lot and a brand-new LED sign?

Other Uses for Old Churches I'd Like to See:

  • Movie Theater
  • Glow-stick Rave Venue
  • Family Fun Center
  • New location for the Bradford Junction
  • Water Park
  • Go-kart Amusement Area
  • Really big Goodwill/Salvation Army
  • Used Car Lot
  • Studio Apartment
  • Miniature Golf Course in which the player needs to hit the ball through the front door and out the back to win a free game
  • CVS Pharmacy


Danicus said...

I have always wanted to buy an old church and convert it into a home.

Watchfire Signs said...

Nice post, and thanks for the link. What about the flip side of buildings not traditionally thought of as churches now hosting a congregation? We have worked with customers at former hardware or grocery stores, even an old liquor store now, that are converted to houses of worship.

The Tominator said...

If I may answer your question: A "Church" never stops being a church. What you see before you at this "Karate Church" place: the physical structure, and the geographic location, are not sacred, hallowed ground. Do you think the ground was sacred before the church was ever built? Did the first bible-bashers who built the damn thing pick that spot because their divining rods pointed to extra-Godliness? The ground was never sacred, and so is not today. As for the congregation, THAT is the church. The Church has always been a human construction, created (in basic terms) as a comfort against the great, big, unknown world out there - a way we Humans have used to reconcile our enormous mental capacity with our lagging physical evolution, that allows us to ultimately ignore that mental capacity. It gets cosier that way. You get me?

Danicus said...

then to what does the phrase "Holy ground" refer?

Danicus said...

Exodus 3:5
"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."

Mike said...

So wait... You have to remove footwear?

Well I bet people didn't do that when entering this particular church for worship.

But now, they DO take off their shoes, for karate...