In June 2010 we examined some of the architectural implications of parish closures and one particular building in the Diocese of Cleveland. The bishop there closed about 50 parishes, but it appears the process used did not follow the correct procedures. Petitions to the Vatican resulted in instructions to re-open 13 of the closed parishes. And St James, Lakewood is among those to be re-opened. So not only will the building be saved, but more importantly, it will be saved as a church.
Heimsath Architects brought up another architectural issue surrounding parish closures with their blog post entitled Liturgical Objects Get a New Use. This was written in response to a New York Times article about an effort to preserve and restore statues from the closed parishes in Cleveland. One of the churches, St Hyacinth, now houses the Museum of Divine Statues.
A considerable number of other items are available on church-inventory.com, a website set up by the diocese of Cleveland to sell off everything from furnishings and vessels to statues and stained glass. Browsing the inventory I am conflicted between the need to save these sacred artifacts and the dismal quality of many of them. Even among the pieces in the Museum of Divine Statues there are many that seems to be bland and mass-produced, though the work of their restoration gives them more life than that with which they began. With the furnishings on church-inventory.com, so many of the lower-quality items from the last half-century have become terribly dated. And unlike some of their more well-made and well-designed counterparts, they do not have even the saving grace of a vintage appeal.