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Historic Milwaukee church shuts its doors

A local church with quite a history in Milwaukee has closed its doors.

At its peak, the new life congregation had an average of 120 members, but that number dropped to 30.

In a closed meeting Tuesday afternoon, the Presbytery of Milwaukee made the tough call to part ways with the New Life congregation.

CBS 58 spoke with the Executive Director for the Presbytery of Milwaukee, Reverend Craig Howard.

\"We hate to lose any congregation, but especially a congregation in the inner city of Milwaukee, Reverend Craig Howard.”

The congregation was in charge of two buildings.

The former New Life Presbyterian Church originally founded as the New Minster Presbyterian in the late 1800's.

That building is located on Palmer Street in the City of Milwaukee.

The other building is located on West Silver Spring Drive in Milwaukee.

The New Life congregation moved to the West Silver Spring location in 1997, to expand farther west in the City.

But the congregation ran into tough times during the recession.

\"Milwaukee is a wonderful city, but you have parts of the city that are just economically depressed, Reverend Craig Howard.\"

According the Reverend Craig Howard, The New Life Congregation moved to the West Silver Spring location, while maintaining responsibility of the location on Palmer Street.

Efforts to sale or rent the property collapsed, and unpaid taxes also played a role.

However, the Executive Director for the Presbytery of Milwaukee ensures there was no shady business, but only unfortunate circumstances.

“We did a through audit of the books, and we did not see any physical responsibility. In fact, the sad part is the pastor wasn't even taking a salary, and the pastor was using her savings to help support the church, Reverend Craig Howard.\"

The goal for the Presbytery of Milwaukee is to find a buyer who can turn both buildings into places of worship once again.

“It doesn't matter if it's Presbyterian or not, we just want that spiritual unity to continue because that's what brings change and transformation, Reverend Craig Howard.\"

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