Church closures are often charged with emotions. People feel grief over losing a cherished place. But what is it people treasure? What characterizes their affective bonds of attachment to the building? These are the first interrelated questions addressed in the research behind this article. Second, we try to understand these feelings by interpreting them in relationship to research about anticipated loss and to theory formation about the attachment to places in general and sacred places in particular. In order to get an answer to our questions, an explorative case study was designed in a Dutch congregation, focusing on the period of nine months before the fixed date of the closure. The primary method used was photo-reflection, a method of gathering data from respondents who reflect on pictures. It was applied to depict the values that churchgoers attribute to the church building when they have been informed that the building is about to be closed down.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Practical Theology
|Published - 2013