Nationwide, steeples are taking a beating, and the bell tolls for bell towers, too, as these landmarks of faith are hit by economic, social and religious change.
Steeples are weather-struck and maintenance-deprived.
Architects and church planners say today's new congregations meet in modern buildings designed to appeal to contemporary believers.
And steeples may have outlived their time as signposts. People hunting for a church don't scan the horizon — they search the Internet.
A Baptist church in the Washington, D.C., suburbs got an aluminum steeple and $25,000 annually by allowing a cell tower to masquerade as its steeple.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers