Spring 2023 Update from the President & CEO

April 26, 2023

In December 2022, CLH took another step to make senior affordable housing available as part of the legacy of the former Grace Lutheran Church, Santa Barbara.  After years of declining membership, the congregation made the decision to close, designing a transfer of property to CLH with the request that the congregation’s legacy vision of affordable housing would be preserved at the site. Together with the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara HASB), CLH developed Grace Village, a 58-unit low-income affordable housing site which is home to more than 60 residents. Now, CLH has provided a second, contiguous piece of property to HASB which, together, we will develop into Grace Village II, a second low-income senior housing development on the site.

Grace Lutheran Church bravely stewarded it’s legacy as it faced closure. Since that time, CLH has assisted other congregations who are facing financial and membership challenges that threaten financial sustainability and even closure. In a recent article about the 2022 analysis of U.S. religious trends by the Pew Research Center Pew Trust Magazine, David O’Reilly writes, “The analysis projects that just 47% of the population would be Christian at midcentury under the likeliest scenario, and 39% by 2070.” This trajectory implies that many congregations will likely struggle with sustainability over the next few decades. In fact, CLH has received several cries for help over the past few months. We stand ready to assist, bringing our leadership team,  connections, and assets to bear on the problems congregations may be facing. Our gifts, together with congregational leadership’s gifts can help determine a workable path forward or establish a legacy. Give us a call.


Deacon Nancy Ackerman,
President and CEO of CLH