A national trend away from organized religion will be manifesting itself in the Capitol Hill and Central District area as a pair of Catholic churches will close.
The precise timelines are not firm, but the Archdiocese of Seattle has announced that St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s churches will both close, and their congregations will be merged with other nearby churches.
A survey released by Gallup earlier this year found that 47% of Americans belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, the lowest number ever recorded by the organization, and the first time its dipped below 50%. In 1999, the number was 70%, a number that had been relatively stable since the 1930’s, Gallup found.
The numbers are even more acute in Washington, where a 2018 study found that 47 percent of state residents identified as nonreligious, compared to 33% nationwide. The state ranked as the sixth least religious at that time.
As those trends have filtered to the local level, religious institutions have started closing. Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church closed back in 2019. And the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church closed back in 2016. Next up are likely to be the pair of Catholic churches.
What happens to the buildings? “It’s part of the process, but it’s way at the end,” said Helen McClenahan, managing director of communications for the Archdiocese of Seattle. Continue reading