Iconic 158-year-old Oregon District church to close this Sunday

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Iconic 158-year-old Oregon District church to close this Sunday

It survived Dayton’s great flood of 1913 and more than one arsonist’s flame, but declining membership and resources were just too much for a 158-year-old church at the edge of Dayton’s Oregon District to handle.

New Year’s Eve will bring the final Sunday worship at Saint Paul Lutheran Church. 

The church located at 239 Wayne Ave. has been sold to Weyland Ventures, the developers of The Wheelhouse project, located nearby at 210 Wayne Ave.

“The proceeds that will come from that divestment and sale of the building from Weyland Ventures will all be paid forward,” said Pastor Bob Miller.

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church pastor Robert E. Miller confirmed that the church at 239 Wayne Ave. will close after Christmas service 2017. Photo: Amelia Robinson

Thirteen different organizations, from Daybreak to Habitat for Humanity will benefit from the sale, and, the nonprofit Jeremiah’s Letter formerly based at the church has found a new home on Xenia Avenue.

Miller says it’s knowing that the church’s mission will live on that makes the final days easier to bear. 

“Even in closing and going away as a worshipping site, our ministry will live on through others and I'm excited about that,” Miller said. 

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church pastor Robert E. Miller confirmed that the church at 239 Wayne Ave. will close after Christmas service 2017. Photo: Amelia Robinson

Weyland Ventures, the developer that purchased the church says the building’s next chapter might involve a restaurant, apartments and shops. 

“It seemed like an opportunity to create a win-win situation where you could end up with something that would pay it forward, and at the same time keep this history and all the stories alive,” said Bill Weyland, Chief Strategy Officer of Weyland Ventures.

Weyland says there are preliminary plans for the church and the former school next door. 

“We'll do residential I'm sure, in the education building. This space can be for events, it can be for restaurants,” Weyland said.

More details will come after the new ownership takes over in 2018.

Weyland Ventures has also promised to honor the building’s historic integrity, which means the iconic steeple, built around 1869, isn’t going anywhere.

WHIO-TV reporter Lauren Clark contributed to this report. 

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church pastor Robert E. Miller confirmed that the church at 239 Wayne Ave. will close after Christmas service 2017. Photo: Amelia Robinson
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