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In Nebraska, empty churches are becoming apartments, museums [Video]

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Community Building and Management

The kitchen table isn’t far from the altar in Kathy and Tim Johnson’s home. A comfortable recliner and cozy couch share the living room with a wooden pew. Stained-glass windows cast colorful shadows across their bedroom.

“Other people walk in and they stop and they just go, ‘wow,’’’ Kathy Johnson said. 

“We just kind of forget that it was a church.”

Kathy and Tim Johnson sit at their kitchen table in Benedict on Feb. 18. The Johnsons live in the former Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. The high ceilings and stained-glass windows were overwhelming at first, but now they enjoy the unique features. 

After more than a century of worship, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Benedict closed its doors in January 2020. Seven months later, the Johnsons bought it.

This house of worship turned home is one of a number of Nebraska churches that, amid rising costs and falling attendance, have …

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