Newsworthy Articles

News and Media Update November 14, 2022

Here's your weekly update of news and media relevant to Bricks and Mortals's mission.

Houses of Worship and Development

As inflation and population density increases nationwide, houses of worship have been utilizing their properties to address this increasing demand. A church in Michigan recently received unanimous approval from planning commissioners to add a childcare center to a building purchased by the church earlier this year. According to Rev. Sam of Pine Grove Church, “the demand is far exceeding the supply,” and the church saw a child care center as the perfect opportunity to serve the community. 

Back in New York, The Reform Temple has made plans to redevelop their property into a mixed use building that will include “affordable housing for teachers, public service workers and other essential members of the community struggling to access housing.” This rezoning plan aligns with the rise of SHIMBY, a growing movement in New York, advocating for social housing to address the city’s deep housing needs.

Rendering of Mixed use building. Photo via

The Patch also published a short list of the affordable housing developments in Harlem. This includes demolition plans for Life Changers Church & Ministries who sold their property in 2018 as part of a deal in which the church would be given a new 8,300-square-foot home in the future building that the developer planned for the site. 

Similarly, Seattle Mennonite Church, plans to redevelop their property for affordable housing. Like New York, Seattle is a high cost, high density city and this redevelopment plan aims to create about 255 affordable housing units in a pair of eight-story buildings.

Houses of Worship and Security

Security concerns for houses of worship persist and leading up to election night there were several reports of anti-semetic attacks, hate crimes, and political violence. On election night, Phillip Ensler, declared victory as the first Jewish, Alabama state representative in more than four decades. Ironically, this win followed only a few days after a propane tank and clothing that had been set on fire were found outside of Beth-el in Birmingham

Last week, a Jewish Community center in Edison, NJ  was evacuated after receiving a bomb threat and later a teen was arrested for making threats against New Jersey synagogues. In Mississippi, an arrest was made after an alleged arsonist set fire to two historically Black churches and an HBCU.  

News shows houses of worship attacked around the nation, furthering the need for efforts to protect and celebrate houses of worship as historical monuments, anchors of community, and spiritual havens. Untapped Cities New York has announced an upcoming event supporting the forthcoming book Divine New York, Inside the Historic Churches and Synagogues of Manhattan. The event will be held virtually on December 8th and features images from the publication sharing the stories behind each of the seventy-five houses of worship featured.


B’nai Jeshurun. Photo by Michael Horowitz via

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