Real estate chain reaction
by Grace Shackman
When Sigma Phi Epsilon bought the historic Christian Memorial Church on Hill Street (Then & Now, October 2012), it triggered a real estate chain reaction. The Disciples of Christ congregation, down to about thirty-five active members, used the sale proceeds to buy the former Girl Scout headquarters on Manchester and to hire a new pastor, Bob Brite. Brite, who specializes in "church transitions," recently helped a Minneapolis congregation rebound from eighty members to 400.
When the church moved into the Girl Scout building, it renamed itself: it's now called Journey of Faith. "We were talking about it for about three years," explains longtime member Rosalie Karunas. "With the need for new signage and new materials, it was clearly the time to do it. Using the word 'memorial' in the name was a decision made in 1891 to honor donors. We wanted to put it in a more modern context, not as a monument to dead people."
The Girl Scouts' Heart of Michigan Council, meanwhile, has moved to a former car dealership in Ypsilanti Township. Their new home is much larger--and even has a drive-in window that troop leaders from thirty-three counties use to pick up their shipments of Girl Scout cookies.
[Originally published in August, 2013.]