Grace Lutheran on the Block
By JESSICA CABRERA
After years of declining membership, Grace Lutheran Church and School has finally called it quits in Bedford Park.
Just last week, church officials quietly put the Grace Lutheran complex at 2930 Valentine Ave. -- which includes a church, school and rectory -- up for sale on craigslist.com for $3 million.
“It’s hard to keep a church running and heated when there are few members,” said a member of the church who didn’t want to be named.
The church relies on donations from their congregation, which has fallen to only 50 to 60 members.
This will be the last summer session at the school, and all signs indicate that it’s ready to shut down. Outside, the gates on the church are closed. Inside the school, offices, hallways and most classrooms are empty. A couple of teachers instruct the few students who are left, while other kids put books away in boxes.
Even church insiders were surprised by the Internet posting. “I had no idea that the church was being sold on craigslist,” said George Ramsudh, Grace Lutheran’s pastor. He has been directing all questions regarding the church to the Atlantic Division of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. The Atlantic Division did not return calls for comment.
Last year, in what is now looking like a sign of things to come, the church sold one of its school buildings on the Grand Concourse for $625,000.
“This case is not isolated. I have sold seven churches before,” said Victor Weinberger, a broker working to sell the church. “Membership dwindles and usually that’s the case.”
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the right purchaser,” reads the ad on craigslist.
Already, Weinberger said, there are a couple of churches expressing interest in purchasing the $3 million complex.
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