- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) - Members of a dwindling congregation in southern Illinois have donated their church to a small area college.

The (Carbondale) Southern (https://bit.ly/1dvrEzf) reports West Frankfort’s First United Methodist Church formally turned the building over to Morthland College this week. The Christian school’s website says it’ll house Morthland’s biblical studies department

The congregation has seen its membership plummet from 200 to just nine today. And it had become too costly for members to maintain the 12,000-square-foot building.

The deal with the school involves a 20-year lease for $1. Members will still be allowed to worship in the building.

Wilda Frakes is 89 and attends the church with her 94-year-old husband. She tells The Southern regarding the decision to donate the church that, “If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have any church at all.”

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