Faith Lutheran Launches Lakewood Abbey
Churches have long hosted groups outside of their respective faith communities. Scout troops, Alcoholic Anonymous chapters, preschools, and others have commonly used church space for meeting. As mainline Protestant denominations continue to experience decline, different congregations are even sharing church space.
Faith Lutheran Church in Lakewood is taking the space-sharing concept even further, aiming to become a hub for our community.
“We’re a small church now, and it’s a large building,” says Pastor Mark Rollenhagen. “And we feel called to care for the community.”
When the church was dedicated in 1932, nearly 500 baptized members comprised the congregation. Now around 60 people typically attend church service there— or at Our Savior’s Lutheran in Rocky River, where Rollenhagen also serves as pastor. Together, Faith and Our Savior's collaborate as Good Soil Lutheran Ministries.
Already, Prodigal Church, a non-denominational congregation, also calls the Faith Lutheran building home. Parkview Playschool, a cooperative preschool, operates in the church’s education wing. During the school year, Faith volunteers staff a popular Wednesday afternoon arts camp for elementary students. The church also hosts a monthly free meal for people in need, as well as a monthly free “kids’ clothing closet.”
Still, there was more potential for Faith to be “an asset to the community— a further extension of the focus we have of caring for our neighbors,” explains Rollenhagen.
At an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Developer Conference, Rollenhagen visited Portland Abbey in Oregon. He also toured Tabor Space, which includes a coffeehouse, sanctuary, and office spaces for non-profit organizations. He learned that St. Lydia’s Church in Brooklyn, NY developed co-working space in its building.
Assessing the church’s possibilities, Rollenhagen noted sturdy, mid-century desks and chairs, leftover from Lakewood Public Schools’ temporary residence in the church, when Hayes Elementary was being renovated a few years ago. Offering co-working community space in Faith seemed like a viable option, especially in a young, vibrant place like Lakewood.
Thus, Lakewood Abbey was born. Envisioned as an alternative for freelancers seeking co-working space and for organizations looking for office, meeting or performance space. There are various options, including the large co-work space (with the aforementioned vintage desks and chairs), meeting rooms, and private offices. Co-work space begins at $50 a month— a very competitive rate.
“We’d like to see the community benefit from our being here,” says Rollenhagen. To find out more about Lakewood Abbey and its options, visit lakewoodabbey.org or email Rollenhagen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Faith Lutheran Church and Lakewood Abbey are located at 16511 Hilliard Road, across from Harding Middle School.