A 167-year old Church in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania will soon become an islamic mosque.
According to The Morning Call:
Sunday morning marked the end of one kind of worship at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and set the stage for the beginning of another.
The 167-year-old congregation held its final service at 417 Howertown Road in Catasauqua, bidding farewell to a house of worship that saw many offshoots in the region, including nearby Holy Trinity Memorial Lutheran Church. Many of the members of that church, likely to become a home for St. Paul’s congregants, joined their neighbors in the emotional service Sunday.
The property is poised for sale to the Almustafa Center, an Islamic congregation, according to church materials from Sunday’s service, a fact that has concerned some congregants.
Leonard Witt Jr., vice president of St. Paul’s church council, declined to name the prospective buyer Sunday, but confirmed that an agreement of sale was in place and would likely be settled by the end of June. The church property was listed for $1.4 million, Witt said.
The likelihood of another religion taking over worship at the church was confronted head-on by leaders during the service.
In his sermon, the Rev. Walter Wagner, an adjunct professor at the Moravian Seminary and professor of world religion at the Respect Graduate School for Islamic studies, urged congregants to “flush” whatever prejudices they may hold in relation to the Muslim faith and find gratitude that their beloved church would remain a holy place.
“This building will not become a bowling alley or a bar, not that I have anything against bowling alleys or bars,” Wagner said. “But this building will still be used for prayer. This will still be a place of worship.
“Witness and ministry are not tied to a piece of real estate. They’re portable,” he continued. “That’s the takeaway for today as you give yourselves the opportunity to serve in different ways.”