The shrinking congregation of Gethsemane Lutheran debated for some time what to do with its brick complex in downtown Seattle.
For years members had welcomed and fed the hungry and homeless.
Last fall, Gethsemane held its last service before closing its sanctuary to begin a $20 million project to dismantle its offices and build a community-service center for homeless women and children and 50 units of low-income housing.
The sanctuary will be closed for 15 months while the five-story project is completed, partly funded by $6 million from sale of the church parking lot.
Meanwhile, members gather for worship across the street in a research building.
According to the Seattle Times, the center — in partnership with other community agencies — will serve some 15,000 people annually.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers