ST. PAUL (AP) — One of the oldest Catholic churches in St. Paul had to close down because of a dwindling congregation, but it's been given new life as an Islamic community center.

The Church of St. John parish was built in 1886. It closed in 2013, but it reopened Friday as the Darul-Uloom Islamic Center.

Center spokesman Feisal Elmi says there are a lot of East Africans in the area, and the city's growing Muslim community wanted to make sure they had a place to worship and be educated.

Charles Lake was a parishioner at St. John for 20 years. He says when he first heard rumors about the parish being sold he "felt sick." But he says he's glad the building will continue as a house of faith.