Mahoning United Methodist Church for salePublished: 1/11/14 @ 12:02
By LINDA M. LINONIS
Faced with a smaller congregation and expense of a big building, members of Mahoning United Methodist Church have opted to put the building at 2214 Mahoning Ave. up for sale.
Pastor Luigi Perez, who came to the church in July 2012, said the decision was “based on being better stewards of the resources we have.”
He said church membership “on the books” is about 200, and Sunday attendance is about 60 people. “The building is just too large for our needs,” he said.
The building houses a sanctuary, chapel, fellowship hall, basement with several classrooms, pantries and storage. The church sponsors a food pantry the first Saturday of the month, which it plans to continue.
Joe Palumbo of Palumbo Real Estate in Hubbard is handling the sale. He said marketing the church building “is a different process.” He has the church property on the multiple listing service among area real-estate companies.
The church, which has 53,000 square feet, is listed at $299,900.
Pastor Perez emphasized the church “is not closing” but looking into options to move its ministry. “Our goal is to stay on the West Side, but in a smaller facility,” he said. “No decision has been made,” he said of the options that the church is exploring.
Bill Stilson, chairman of church council for 12 years, reiterated what the pastor said. “We’re a small congregation, and just can’t support the building,” he said. “We’ve cut back as much as we can ... we just don’t have the attendance to maintain the building.”
Stilson said the council and trustees are looking into options ... relocating to a smaller site or merging with another congregation. “Right now, it’s up in the air,” he said.
Stilson, who was born into the church and a member for some 70 years, said the congregation would like “to stay on the West Side.”
Rick Wilcott, director of communications for the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, said Mahoning UMC and district officials are in communication about the future of the ministry and building. The church is in the Mahoning Valley District of the conference, which lists 67 churches on its website, eoc.umclive.org.
“The congregation is weighing its options and deciding on the best course of action,” Wilcott said. “The intent is for the congregation to continue.”
Mahoning UMC marked its 100th anniversary in October 2012 with a dinner and worship service.
The church was organized in October 1912 and sponsored by Trinity United Methodist Church. The first chapel was dedicated on the corner of Mahoning Avenue and Brockway in 1913. In 1925, the first building was completed, and in 1944, the name was changed to Mahoning Methodist Church.
During the 1950s and ’60s, membership peaked at more than 1,000 members. An addition, focusing on a new sanctuary, was completed in 1961 and a pipe organ was bought in 1982. The towering steeple of the church is a landmark on Mahoning Avenue.