America’s Epidemic of Empty Churches

A man walks inside empty church at the Ninth Ward area in New Orleans

A man walks inside an empty church at the Ninth Ward area in New Orleans August 28, 2006, nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina struck. The current population of Orleans parish is 220,000 to 235,000, compared to 485,000 before Katrina. In the entire metropolitan New Orleans area, the current population is estimated at 1.17 million compared to 1.42 million before Katrina. REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES) – GM1DTJKFJQAA

Source: The Atlantic


Three blocks from my Brooklyn apartment, a large brick structure stretches toward heaven. Tourists recognize it as a church—the building’s bell tower and stained-glass windows give it away—but worshippers haven’t gathered here in years.

The 19th-century building was once known as St. Vincent De Paul Church and housed a vibrant congregation for more than a century. But attendance dwindled and coffers ran dry by the early 2000s. Rain leaked through holes left by missing shingles, a tree sprouted in the bell tower, and the Brooklyn diocese decided to sell the building to developers. Today, the Spire Lofts boasts 40 luxury apartments, with one-bedroom units renting for as much as $4,812 per month. It takes serious cash to make God’s house your own, apparently.

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