Saturday, June 5, 2010

Church closings in Nanticoke

A while back I did a series of posts on the Churches of Nanticoke. Since that time many of those churches have closed - and not just the Catholic churches.

At a Firemen's Breakfast in Honeypot last November I overheard a couple talking about how they used to go to St. George's Episcopal Church - until it closed earlier in the year. I believe the First Presbyterian Church of Nanticoke was reported to be in dire straits financially earlier this year. And it seemed like the steps of the First United Methodist Church went unshoveled for several Sundays this Winter without the snow being trod upon. (These three churches can be seen here.)

Things with the Catholic churches in Nanticoke continue to go according to former Bishop Martino's plan. St. Francis has been closed for some time, since a leaking roof rendered the building unsafe for use, but its formal closure as a church took place more recently. St. Joseph's closed for good several weeks ago. St. Mary's and Holy Trinity have had formal closing ceremonies, although neither of these buildings will be closed in reality: Holy Trinity will be the primary worship site for the consolidated St. Faustina parish, and St. Mary's will serve as the secondary worship site. (The problem of extremely limited parking at the primary worship site has still not been resolved, and the building remains without air conditioning.) In two years, according to Martino's plan, the continued use of the secondary worship site "will be evaluated no later than two years after the consolidation, based on geography, attendance, fiscal realities and the availability of priests. ."

This coming Sunday - tomorrow, as I write this - St. Stanislaus will have its closing ceremony. Like St. Joseph's, this will be a for-real closing, not merely a formality. And, barring a miracle, Holy Child in Sheatown will be closing June 27, bringing the first wave of consolidations in Nanticoke to completion.

It's not just churches that are closing. Diamond's Candy Shoppe is gone. McDonald's Newsstand is gone. WNAK is gone, again, not just from Nanticoke but completely removed from the airwaves. The senior citizens' center - the old post office - is gone, (The steps and front arches were reportedly going to be preserved and incorporated into the new structure going up there, but I believe they were "accidentally" demolished along with the rest of the building. The steps and front entrance to the adjacent Susquehanna Coal building, which was demolished at the same time, were inexplicably preserved for a few days, but as these were of no special architectural significance they were also removed after a while.)

Oddly, one new pizza place has opened up downtown, near the post office, and business is booming.