A Historic Dallas church faces a possible wrecking ball unless supporters of a plan to save it can raise millions of dollars by Monday.
The Central Christian Church of Dallas will be leveled to make way for a park if the fundraising fails.
At the edge of Highland Park, the church at 4711 Westside Drive near Inwood and Lemmon Avenue has welcomed worshippers for generations.
The congregation first started downtown in 1863 and moved to the current location in 1952 at what was then the edge of town.
Pastor Ken Crawford said attendance declined over the years.
“And this congregation got to where it could not financially sustain itself on the current campus and decided that it didn’t want to try to start over in a new place,” Crawford said.
Before the congregation reached that conclusion, Crawford had tried to make Central Christian a different kind of church, with many different activities at the campus and much more diversity.
The latest news from around North Texas.
“What I call Church 21st. Going forward, what does the church need to be in the 21st century. The world has changed,” Crawford said.
YouTube videos were produced of the things that were going on there.
Blake Schwarz was a supporter.
“And it's beautiful. It's exactly what the Kingdom of God should look like and be like,” Schwarz said.
But the adjacent Town of Highland Park offered the congregation $7 million with a plan to buy and demolish the building to make way for needed parkland on the site.
Schwarz wanted to save the 21st Century church approach that was happening there.
“I'm going to have to try. I can't just let this go away without at least trying,” Schwarz said.
He offered about half as much and the congregation agreed to give him a chance to raise the money.
A fundraising website says the deadline was April 15, but Crawford said Schwarz has until Monday to raise the earnest money for a deal.
Schwarz will be working until the last minute.
Central Christian Church held the final service at the building on Easter Sunday.
“The church, by and large, is the institution grandparents and great grandparents created generations ago and it just doesn’t work anymore,” Crawford said.
Ken Crawford will be the last pastor of the old Central Christian Church until the end of April. After that, he will receive four additional months of salary which he plans to use working on a book about his vision for 21stCentury churches.
After that Blake Schwarz is hoping there will be a new life for the old building.
There is a link to the central commons fundraising website.https://centralcommons.org/