Pastor sells church via classified ad: “Very painful”

Pastor sells church via classified ad: “Very painful”

Rotenburg-Lispenhausen/Cologne (KNA) A priest from the diocese of Fulda sees his decision to offer a church for sale in a classified advert as a necessary but “brutal” step. Profanation would be “very, very painful”, said priest Andreas Schweimer, dean of Eschwege-Bad Hersfeld, in an interview with the Cologne portal (Thursday). He has placed a classified advert to sell an entire church in Rotenburg-Lispenhausen in northern Hesse, including outbuildings, for almost 400,000 euros.

“Church with vicarage and convent in Lispenhausen 395,000 – VB”, reads the online advert. Only a few people still go to the “Zur schmerzhaften Mutter Gottes” church, which was built in 1963, said the priest. Only around ten per cent of the population in the diaspora area are still Catholic, of which only six per cent regularly attend church services. “For me, the sale of this church symbolises the decline of faith,” said Schweimer.

However, there are also financial reasons for the sale. “Although the church is quite small, it is located on a larger estate and is part of an ensemble consisting of a church, a small monastery and a residential building,” said the priest. Sisters had lived in the small convent for almost 39 years. “It is simply very expensive to maintain such a large property financially.”

Schweimer defends the offer via a classified ad portal: “You can reach people from the region better via classified ads. It has the advantage that many people notice it and you save the not inconsiderable estate agent costs.” So far, there are 18 interested parties. “It’s already getting more concrete with three to five interested parties.”

On the question of subsequent use, the priest said that it would be best if the building was used by another Christian denomination such as Orthodox, Protestant or Anglican Christians. There had even been several enquiries from Orthodox congregations, “who, interestingly, told us that the church was too small”. However, there have also been enquiries for a physiotherapy practice, childcare, a studio, an exhibition space or the use of the ensemble as housing for several generations.