Preserving And Repurposing Churches by The 21st published on 2019-10-15T20:21:38Z A growing number of Illinois church congregations are having to either change locations or disband altogether. That’s because congregations are shrinking and because maintaining a house of worship is often expensive. But there’s also growing interest in still using these sacred buildings and keeping them part of the community. In the Springfield area, several former churches were converted to a restaurant, apartments and a youth ministry. NPR Illinois Sam Dunklau reported on this story. Pastor Jean Hembrough also joined us from Jacksonville, Illinois. Bob Jaeger is president of the non-profit Partners for Sacred Places.