San Antonio downtown revitalization brings a church to the area

January 30, 2013 by  

San Antonio, Texas’s leaders and investors have been putting millions of dollars into revitalizing the city’s downtown and turning it into a showplace for retail shops, arts enterprises, and residences. This month, a church has joined the mix.

Redeemer Presbyterian Church is buying a former YMCA and is preparing to spend some $5m on its renovation. Redeemer will be using the building as a new home for its 550-member congregation, and hopes to have the work done and the church doors open in approximately a year.

The move reverses the common pattern in San Antonio, in which churches move out of the city proper to the more affluent suburbs. However, the church’s founder and senior pastor, Tom Gibbs, said the inner city location is ideal, since the congregation is to be have an urban focus. Gibbs wants the church to be where resources and opportunity come together and sees its move as part of the larger ongoing effort to revitalize the downtown.

Many members of the congregation already drive long distances to attend the church, so moving downtown is unlikely to be an obstacle for them. In addition, a number of its members are young parents or single professionals who are already passionate about cultural enrichment and urban renewal, and have been working actively to improve downtown life.

Redeemer could work with flyer printers to create an inviting product they can distribute throughout the downtown area, announcing the upcoming church opening.