Costly repairs and low attendance are forcing a Tacoma’s First Congregational Church to move. After more than 100 years in the same building, it held its final service Sunday.
“It’s a sad day,” said Jean Loomis, a church member.
Jean Loomis was there to say a final goodbye to the building. The 89-year-old has attended services in it since the 1940s. Her kids, grandkids and great grandson sat next to her Sunday.
But, like in the past, not enough people showed up.
“You’re always trying to play catch up and barely getting there,” said Pastor Bill Greaver.
There’s enough room for 250 people, but on some occasions, as few as nine have shown up.
“They were not taking in enough rent or offering to break even weekly so it was eating away at their savings,” said Pastor Greaver.
Even though the church owns the building, there’s no salvation for it. First Congregational can’t afford the cost for maintenance, a new roof, utilities and paying for its part time pastor.
More than 70 were there for the final service.
“Gosh, if all these people here today had been coming, we wouldn’t have to sell the church,” said Loomis.
The church was sold to Mars Hill Church for $1.9 Million. It found a different location that’s a better fit. Loomis will miss the old location, but is confident the spirit of the church will continue.
“It’s the people and family that make the memories and make it a wonderful place,” she said.
For the church, the end becomes the beginning of something new.
“It’s part of my life, there have been a lot of things I’ve had to say goodbye to and this will just be another one,” said Loomis.
According to Pastor Greaver, the sale of the church will generate enough money to move to another location in Tacoma and allow the congregation to continue.