Walk a few blocks in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or any of Pennsylvania's old cities, and you're bound to see a house of worship. In Old City Philadelphia, these could be churches the founding fathers attended. In other neighborhoods, they could be former ethnic churches that served specific immigrant communities.
Many of these churches are now empty or abandoned. In Philadelphia alone, there are about 60 to 80 vacant sacred places. "Given the decline in memberships, we think many many more will close," says Bob Jaeger, president at Partners for Sacred Places, a nonprofit group that helps congregations make the most of their buildings.