Schenectady’s Union Presbyterian Church is for sale.
“The building is too big and too expensive to maintain for our church any longer,” said Joseph Lovell of Niskayuna, president of the church board of trustees. “The membership is down and it consists of a lot of elderly people who cannot handle responsibilities any more.”
The church is at 1068 Park Ave., just north of Union Street. It was built in 1904.
Lovell said the 200-member congregation will survive. Church officials are currently working on a joint congregational witness arrangement with First Reformed Church, situated in the city’s Stockade neighborhood.
“It means that we’ll still be Union Presbyterian Church, but we will be housed at First Reformed and we will worship with them,” Lovell said. “But we will still be responsible for our own assets and we’ll work our other programs with them, such as the youth programs. We will be responsible for our own finances, and we’ll run our own operation. We’ll still be Union Presbyterian Church.”
Consolidation, Lovell said, has been under consideration for several years.
“We investigated other churches we thought we might work with,” he added. “It seemed consolidation was a good way to go. We looked at a lot of churches. A lot of churches looked at us — some are having the same kind of problems.”
Lovell said some parties are interested in buying Union Presbyterian. He would not say how much the church is asking for the building.
“We’re taking offers,” he said, adding the successful offer must receive final approval from the Union Presbyterian congregation and from the Albany Presbytery, a regional governing body of the Presbyterian church.
Union Presbyterian members also will vote on the arrangement with First Reformed.
“It is a very difficult time for a lot of people who have been in the church for many years and don’t want to see it go,” Lovell said. “They would like to continue on.”