In a country where people are more likely to attend megachurches or simply not go at all, neighborhood congregations are fighting to stay relevant.

Schreiber Memorial United Methodist Church’s story isn’t all that different from many community churches on the precipice of closing.

Schreiber Memorial found a home on Rickover Drive in 1965, and its devout congregation attended services there for 51 years. But the North Dallas church was “nearing the end of one life cycle” and struggled to attract new members, says The Grove pastor Stephen Lohoefer.

The congregation voted to become a Highland Park UMC campus in February. Renamed The Grove Church, it’s expected to reopen in October.

“Our hope is that we have a congregation that has infants all the way up to seniors — the full spectrum of ages and life stages,” Lohoefer says.

The church is undergoing a makeover while its doors are shut. The gym is being transformed into a contemporary worship space, and the kids’ rooms are being updated. Landscaping improvements also are part of Highland Park UMC’s to-do list.

Neighbors have responded positively to the news, Lohoefer says, and the church is reaching out to nearby schools, like Nathan Adams Elementary and W.T. White High School, to see how they can help.

“Our hope is to be a great neighborhood church, and that means being a good neighbor, first and foremost.”

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