Transforming sacred spaces - preserving community

News I Image: 2023 Nikolaus Schäffler

Church resignations and congregational mergers are leading to more and more empty pews in sacred spaces. Additional financial problems, triggered by the energy crisis, for example, are exacerbating this trend.

The last resort, and thus the worst case a congregation can face, is the sale or possibly demolition of a church building. This entails not only the loss of a community center, but also of a point of identification in the village. The importance of a church in this context cannot be overstated. In order to counteract this challenge, various ways of revitalizing sacred spaces are emerging. In the following, we present two variants, each of which preserves the liturgical function.

The extension of use
The sacred space is preserved in spatial and functional terms. In addition to the liturgical use, a use in cooperation with secular or ecclesiastical partners takes place. Uses can come, for example, from the cultural or educational sector. A particularly exciting example is currently being tested in Speinshart Monastery - the idea of developing an international science and meeting center for artificial intelligence arose from an actori project. The spiritual focus of the monastery and the sacred spaces are nevertheless to be preserved - the monks will also remain in Speinshart.

In the case of a partial change of use, conversion measures may be necessary to prepare the building for use together with secular or ecclesiastical partners. Worship services may continue to be held. A complete conversion provides for a new use of the church building. This requires profanation or deconsecration. The church building can be leased for conversion.

Within the framework of a feasibility study, actori openly considers all possibilities for the revitalization and long-term financing of sacred spaces. In this way, a congregation can decide on a broad basis of data which way is possible and feasible for it. Hasty measures can thus be avoided, and an adequate solution found.


An impulse contribution by Franziskus Linsmann, Project Management.

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