“Rebuilt” Parish Decommissions Former Worship Space

The Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland, of “Rebuilt” fame, is moving into its new church building. “This weekend was the last in our current 70’s era church,” they recently posted. Check out the parish here.

Here is the decommissioning prayer they used.

Prayer for the Closing of a Church

In the mystery of your incarnate love,
you chose to dwell among us.
Rejected by the builders, you became our cornerstone,
and joined together the ends of the earth,
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Form us into one Church, built of living stones,
a spiritual house of God, and temple of the Holy Spirit.
For you, O Lord, are our builder and maker,
and lay the foundation of every life and home.
We lift up all those faithful men and women
of our parish, who through the years
sacrificed time, talent, and treasure,
to build and attend to the care of this church.
Let us remember with gratitude the many priests
who celebrated Mass at this altar,
and whose priestly care was experienced
in the preaching of the word in this church.
The lay ministers and parish staff who from this place,
attended to the care of the sick, the formation of youth,
the fellowship of believers,
and outreach to those who did not know your name.
Let us pray for those who received the sacraments
in this space over the last 45 years:
those who were reborn in the living waters of Baptism,
couples who founded a holy family in the celebration of marriage,
those who experienced reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance,
or healing and strength in the Sacrament of Anointing,
and all those to whom we bid good-bye and God’s speed
through the Funeral Rites here observed.
We pray for all those who faithfully and reverently
have undertaken devotions here, on behalf of the whole parish:
the daily rosary, weekly and monthly adoration,
the Stations of the Cross;
the multitudes who have attended Mass,
keeping holy the Sabbath and honoring your name.
Finally, we remember the silent prayer of all your children,
uttered here in this church, day after day in sincerity of heart…
knowing that each of these prayers has precious in your sight.
As we take leave of our church…
turn our hearts toward our final destination,
the eternal Temple,
where we will be citizens of an everlasting city,
gathered around the throne of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.


  1. Nice prayer.

    The contrast between this new building, and the series of church building snapshots in the Commonweal collection of articles featured on another post at this site, is pretty startling. It seems Nativity has gone mega-church, whole hog.

  2. “Inspired by the reforms of Vatican II, brown dominated the old church, which sat 550 and did not have kneelers.”

    Ouch. Brown dominates a lot of old buildings, plus buildings built on the cheap. On the other hand, brown is also wood, and that’s not a totally bad thing. The East Coast was always trotting behind the rest of American Catholicism when it came to Vatican II.

    And an altar from Germany? There’s not an artist stateside that could have crafted something worthy? I might prefer my beer from Germany rather than the US, but I’ll just note the Atlantic states too often in history have had a sense of inferiority and a certain longing for Europeanisms.

    That said, the Rebuilt approach is indeed growing a community without new housing developments, immigrants, or other population factors. That merits notice.

  3. I discovered NativityChurch.com a few months ago by accident. It’s mission and operating style is indeed taken from “mega churches” using their blend of powerful music that makes you want to cry, lift up your hands or just sit and take it all in with the preaching of the Word, usually in a series of talks covering a theme. We have Gateway Church here in DFW that is a mega church that reflects this vision) What Fr White and his team did was to take this recipe and blend it into Catholic worship and parish life. The result is a very warm, welcoming, non judgemental church where anyone can find a place to talk, cry, worship or seek help. Their parish is very pro active in helping the poor and the inner city (Baltimore).
    Its not the numbers that tell the story..its the story of a dying parish that re imagined itself by looking both at itself, at other churches and most importantly, the Gospel message. It takes prayer, courage, committment and vision to do this. Any parish can do this. This is the parish I would love to belong to. Strong music, preaching, out reach and welcome.

  4. Sounds like an introvert’s nightmare (or penance).

    As for the building, my impression is of lots of glass, not much color. I wonder about the ecological footprint — energy use/expense for heating and cooling. Isn’t the sun in peoples’ eyes at some times of day/year … and how does wanting lots of light square with having to use those looming video screens?

  5. I rather like the new building, and the sanctuary furnishings are beautiful and well designed.
    I do think the mega-church musical style would put me off from fully enjoying the place. I hope they have at least one spoken Mass each Sunday for those who do not respond to large crowds and loud contemporary music.

    The decommissioning prayer for the former church building is a brilliant idea!

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