Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sacred Sites Symposium, November 16th

 Syracuse, NY.  Former south Presbyterian Church. This window and all other stained glass was removed and sold to a dealer/collector in California. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber (2005)

 Syracuse, NY.  Greater Love in Christ Church (former First Methodist Episcopal, 1927), Frederick Roy Lear, architect. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber

Sacred Sites Symposium, November 16th

Over the past few years I have frequently reported on this blog about the many religious buildings in Central New York - remarkable for their history, architecture, art and often vibrant congregations.  These buildings and the many activities which they house are mainstays in many neighborhoods.  They are landmarks of architecture, landmarks of community, and landmarks of the spirit.  

As we all know, many of these building are threatened with slow neglect or a quick demolition.  Changing demographic and worship patterns often mean declining congregations and limited congregation resources - financial and human.  Aging building that have not been maintained often face staggering costs to be brought up standards of safety and integrity appropriate for regular use.   The problems are many - but so are the solutions.  Many local congregations have been steadfast in their care for their historic buildings, and others have been innovative in how they have adapted and shared use, and planned for the future.  Outside of Central new York was can also turn to many cities with similar problems - that have also forged community solutions. 

 Syracuse, NY.  United Baptist Church, South Beech St.( 1916), Revels & Hallenbeck, architects.  Photo: Samuel D. Gruber (2012)

The Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY) will offer an opportunity to explore problems and solutions at an all day symposium to be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral on Montgomery Street on Saturday, November 16th.  I am thrilled that Bob Jaeger, president of the nationally active Partners for Sacred Places with which I have for more than 20 years, will be the keynote speaker.  To my knowledge this is the first time in more than a decade that this topic has been publicly addressed.  I hope that it will set off a chain reaction of discussions and actions.  There is so much w can all do to help. 

 Syracuse, NY.  St. Patrick's Church, N. Lowell Ave. (1871). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber (2013)

Here are the details.   I recommend registering on-line, but you can also do so on-site before the symposium.

‘SACRED PLACES SYMPOSIUM’ will take place on Saturday, NOVEMBER 16th from 9:30 am to 4:15 pm, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 310 Montgomery Street in Syracuse, New York. The Symposium will bring together an array of expert practitioners to discuss the issues that can determine the fate of these magnificent community places, and the neighborhoods that surround them. 

Attendees will be able to choose from sessions offered in two learning tracks: SUSTAINING SACRED PLACES, or RE-USING FORMER SACRED SITES. The Keynote Speaker will be A. Robert Jaeger, Co-Founder and President of Partners for Sacred Places, who will discuss the importance of protecting, preserving, and repurposing our Sacred Places. Mr. Jaeger is the co-author of Sacred Places at Risk (PDF, 1998) and Strategies for Stewardship and Active Use of Older and Historic Religious Properties (1996), author of Sacred Places in Transition (1994), and editor (from 1985 to 1989) of Inspired, a bi-monthly magazine with news and technical articles on religious property preservation.

Specific ‘Sacred Places’ topics will include: Conditions Surveys, On-Going Maintenance, Energy Concerns, Historic Significance, Funding Possibilities, and Preservation Networking – with case studies including Grace Episcopal Church, Syracuse; Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Buffalo; and Friends of Corpus Christi, Inc., Buffalo. This symposium will also address Cultural Identity; Community & Neighborhood Stability; Economic Value; and New Uses for Sacred Places – with case studies including a Community Facility – Willard Memorial Chapel, Auburn; Restaurant – The Benediction Café, AME Zion Church, Syracuse; and a School – Martin Luther King Charter School at St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church, Buffalo.

Registration: There will be a registration fee of $40 for the all day symposium which will be offered to the general public, with a discounted fee of $25 available to PACNY members. Symposium registration and PACNY membership options are available on our Event Registration Page.

1 comment:

  1. I'm personally not religious, but there is so much to admire about the churches in Syracuse. The name of my favorite escapes me, but it's the mission-style church at the corner of James St & N Townsend St.