St. Luke’s Methodist Episcopal Church at 145 Bay Street was built to serve the growing McKnight Neighborhood in circa 1890 in the Shingle Style.
Two years ago, this building, located in the McKnight Local Historic District was vandalized. Until repairs can be made and an occupancy permit issued by the City the building will remain vacant. Church officials met with the Mayor who indicated that the City would be willing to help once the Church makes some headway on repairs on its own. The Bishop is trying to mobilize church members to start cleaning up the debris. The SPT informed them of possible financial assistance from the MA Historical Commission and/or Community Preservation funds.
While the church is still owned by a religious organization it remains in deteriorated condition due to the congregation’s lack of financial wherewithal to make repairs in compliance with the city’s Building Code. Thankfully, there are many examples nationwide of churches surviving shifts in population and membership, repurposing their house of worship into homes (examples here and here), offices, community centers, bookstores, restaurants, and even nightclubs. The Springfield Preservation Trust remains in contact with church leaders, lending referral support, as they decide how to move forward.