'Not an easy thing': St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Dallastown is being sold

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

The future of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Dallastown is uncertain now that the sale of its building is pending, an official told The York Dispatch.

Facing financial issues, the church entered a contract for the sale of the building at 205 W. Main St., a deal church officials anticipate will be finalized in April, according to Len Evans, chair of the St. Paul’s consistory, or board of directors.

"We could not afford to stay open as a church," Evans said on Wednesday. "This is not an easy thing for our church congregation to go through."

St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Dallastown, Thursday, March 30, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

With the sale pending, Evans said he is unsure what the future holds for the congregation.

"We have people that were married in the church and have been in the church 50 to 60 years," he said. "And now this church building is being sold, and we're kind of up in the air as far as what's going to happen to us as a worship group."

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Evans declined to identify the purchaser.

St. Paul's United Church of Christ won't be the only organization affected by the move. Longstanding nonprofit Emmanuel's Closet, which occupied space in St. Paul's free of rent for eight years, is seeking a new space.

Emmanuel's Closet serves just under 300 Dallastown and Red Lion area families. Organizers with Emmanuel's Closet confirmed Thursday they are still seeking a new location.

In recent years, St. Paul's United Church of Christ has been known for its progressive advocacy work. The church made headlines in 2016 after its pastor, Chris Rodkey, publicized a local school board member's angry response to his congregation's message of support for Muslims during Ramadan.

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Rodkey, who made an unsuccessful bid as a Democrat for state Rep. Mike Jones's seat last year, agreed with Evans that the future of St. Paul's is still to be determined.

He added that one thing is very clear:

"We still exist as a congregation," Rodkey said. "The sale of the building is not the same as the congregation ending."