Sale on Albion church building officially closes

Photo by Tom Rivers: Some of the leaders of the United Methodist Church in Albion are pictured by their former church building. The group includes, from left: Reid Cole, Marie Follett, Cathy Moore and Kim Pritt. The United Methodists sold the building last Friday. They have been sharing space with Christ Church, an Episcopal congregation on Main Street.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 April 2017 at 8:25 am

United Methodists wish blessings upon North Point Chapel

ALBION – The United Methodist Church in Albion officially sold its historic building last week to a new congregation, North Point Chapel.

The sale came about two years after the United Methodists left the building, due to its deteriorating condition, particularly with the roof over the sanctuary.

“It was beyond our means,” said Reid Cole, chairman of the church’s board of trustees.

Engineers estimated it would cost about $1 million to fix the roof and make over brick repairs.

For two years the United Methodists have been holding services at Christ Church, the Episcopalian’s home on Main Street. Cole said that arrangement has worked well for both congregations. The United Methodists plan to stay there for at least the short-term and may consider their own building in the future.

The United Methodists are grateful their former building won’t languish as a vacant site.

“It is better for Albion to keep this as a church,” Cole said.

Cole said potential buyers looked at the church for apartments and offices. He is happy North Point pushed to buy the property, a 14,000-square-foot structure with a neighboring house/office building that is currently rented to Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. Community Action agencies that use the building include ACT – Helping Youth ACT Responsibly, Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) and Early Head Start Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP).

Provided photo: Leaders from the two churches sign closing documents last Friday. Cathy Moore, a trustee with the United Methodist Church, and attorney Sandy Church are on the left. Mike Outten, pastor of North Point Chapel, and attorney Erin Gromley are on the right.

North Point’s pastor Mike Outten signed the final closing papers on Friday, along with UMC leaders. The two churches had been waiting months for a sign-off from the State Attorney General’s Office.

The church and next door house sold for $38,000, with North Point also agreeing to assume the costs for timber beams that are used for roof support. There is a monthly charge for the beams and an additional cost for when the company removes them.

Outten was unable to attend a ceremonial photo on Tuesday with the UMC leaders. He was called to see someone at a Buffalo hospital.

North Point is using the 1959 addition of the church currently for services and offices. North Point was holding services at the Arnold Gregory Office Complex. The church held its first service on April 2 at the former UMC building.

Outten told Orleans Hub on March 29 that North Point Chapel thinks God still has a plan for the building, which includes many stunning stained-glass windows, a pipe organ and space for more than 250 people.

“I walked in here and I just dropped,” Outten said last month.

It wasn’t the windows or the architecture that stunned Outten. It was all of the empty seats. He imagined the sanctuary full of earnest Christians. The church, like so many in the United States, seems way too big for the congregations today.

“There used to be people who sat in these seats and believed in Jesus Christ,” Outten said. “I look around and I see 250 saints singing to God.”

For now, North Point is using space from two classrooms for services.

“We’re here to meet people where they’re at,” Outten said. “Jesus didn’t look at people’s exterior, but at their hearts. This building is just a tool. We will show people that we care for them and love them.”

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