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Clinton Hill’s St. Luke’s Closing in June

April 24, 2014
St. Luke's closing after over 100 years of service in Clinton Hill

St. Luke’s closing after over 100 years of service in Clinton Hill

The Daily News reports that a 145-year-old Brooklyn congregation, the St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Clinton Hill, will be closing its doors this coming June.

Church officials announced that a slew of expensive repairs and a shrinking membership base have forced church to make this decision.

“It’s been a pretty steady diminishment of life in that congregation,” said Bishop Robert Rimbo of the Metropolitan New York Synod, the entity that oversees the parish.

The church used to be the spiritual home to hundreds of parishioners, but over the past 15 years the numbers of worshippers has dwindled to a handful, about 30 regular members.

“Congregations have a life cycle, and sometimes it just gets to a point where the life is done,” added Rimbo.

The decision came in the wake of a two year survey of the 120-year-old stone cathedral. The building is not only the home to the worshipers, but also houses a secular preschool. The review concluded that in order to safely continue to keep the building open past July the Gothic structure would need an overhaul to the tune of $10 million.

“There was a hole in the ceiling of the sanctuary and there was a tree growing in the chimney,” said Rimbo, who added that the church has already pumped $1.2 million into roof repairs, boiler replacements and brick work. “People would come to worship and rain and snow would fall on them.”

The remaining 30 congregants will be able to merge into one of the other 195 Evangelical Lutheran churches in 18 counties in New York, said Rimbo.

“It’s a shame because it’s been here forever,” said Fort Greene resident Linda Foster, 70, whose grandchildren were baptized at St. Luke’s.“But they never got the amount of parishioners that they should have gotten.”

The last church service will be held at St. Luke’s on June 22. The pre-school will be able to continue in its attached location until the last official day of school, August 31st.

Residents of the community believe that the church will be transformed into an apartment building.  Church officials said that they would like to sell the building and property, which is across the street from Pratt Institute, to another religious group.

“Our hope is to sell it to another religious institution,” said Rimbo. “There are several developers in the area, [but] I don’t know if there’s any interest on their part.”


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