Posted on December 4, 2018 by PJ SlingerGallery: Former churches with better missions Life Member David M. Shea of Maryland informed us of a repurposed church in Ellicott City, Md. (left), that now houses the Howard County Historical Society Museum. The former First Presbyterian Church was built in 1837, but collapsed during renovations in 1894. Rebuilt that year, the church had a Gothic-style structure with a 100-foot bell tower, steeply pitched roof and stained and leaded glass windows. The church was donated to the Howard County Historical Society in 1960 by Mrs. James (Alda Hopkins) Clark. Life Member Richard Gagnon sent us this photo of the South Berwick Public Library, which used to be St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Maine (right). Gagnon writes: “I was baptized and confirmed in this church — till I broke free. It makes a better library than it ever did a church.” In 2010, the town of South Berwick purchased the church, rectory and properties. Extensive exterior work and a new addition were completed in 2011. The Friends of the South Berwick Public Library raised over $1 million in a campaign that was key to helping finish the interior renovation and furnish the library with furniture and equipment. Occupation of the entire space began in 2012. Life Member Cheryl McCutcheon told us about Taft’s Ale House in Cincinnati, housed in the historic and renovated St. Paul’s German Evangelical Protestant Church (top), which was built in 1850 and held its final service in 1984. FFRF Member Nancy McClements, a retired librarian, stands outside a former church (Saint-Jean-Baptiste, above) that now houses a library (Bibliothèque Claire-Martin) in Quebec. Member Larry Lubetsky of Maryland sent us this photo of a repurposed church in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood. The former Mount Vernon United Methodist Church (right) now houses Chesapeake Systems, a technology company. The 200-year-old building was struck by lightning in 2008 and the congregation was unable to rebuild after the resulting fire. The church remained vacant for 16 months until the CEO of Chesapeake Systems stepped in to buy the building and update it for his company’s needs.