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Low attendance prompting church closures, sale of buildings

Posted By: The Toledo Blade on August 28, 2022.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

Rob Keleghan of Signature Associates’ Toledo brokerage team is handling the sale and marketing of the properties.


Two former United Methodist church buildings in the greater Toledo area are currently on the market, and a third in Toledo was sold in June.

Rob Keleghan, principal at Signature Associates, a Toledo real estate agency that is handling the sales, said he did not know exactly why all these churches closed, “but COVID was the nail in the coffin.”

The buildings that were home to the Zion Methodist Church, 2600 Copland Blvd. in Toledo, and Moline United Methodist Church, 28010 E Broadway St. in Walbridge, are listed for sale by Signature Associates.

Moline is listed for $199,000, and Zion is listed for $795,000.  “I see it being another church,” Mr. Keleghan said about the Zion building. “Or a day care. Or something that deals with youth. Or a community outreach center.”

A third building, home of the former Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 7715 W. Bancroft St. in Toledo, was sold in June.

Kay Panovec, director of communications for the West Ohio Conference of the UMC, which owns the churches being sold and is the former owner of the former Emmanuel, said the churches had low attendance and weren’t able to meet their financial obligations.

“The churches weren’t sustainable,” she said.

The Zion opened in 1858, the Moline in 1883, and the Emmanuel in 1850, she said. The UMC operates 23 churches in Lucas County and 30 churches in Wood County. No other church closings have occurred in the past year in Lucas or Wood counties, Ms. Panovec said.

“Closing any church is a difficult decision especially for the local congregation and its leadership,” she said in an email. “These congregations did not have the people and resources needed to sustain the ministries of the church.”

Mr. Keleghan said it can be difficult to determine how fast the buildings might sell. Previous church sales he’s handled have taken years, but he noted that the former Emmanuel sold in about four months.

More buyers are in the $200,000 to $300,000 range rather than around the $800,000 the Zion building is listed for, Mr. Keleghan said. He’s showing the building to a charter school, which he believes would be a great function for the space.

“It’s a beautiful building in very good shape,” he said. “The right user has to come along.”

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