N.B.'s Central Hampstead Baptist Church sells for $1,900
New owners plan to move church down the road, turn it into a cottage
A New Brunswick church built in Canada’s confederation year sold for $1,900 at auction on Saturday.
Since 1867 the Central Hampstead Baptist Church stood tall in the farm fields near Gagetown.
Over the years, the church’s congregation has dwindled and its remaining parishioners couldn’t afford to keep the church open. Before it was up for auction it only had about a dozen members, with around three of them being active in church affairs.
After hosting hundreds of baptisms, weddings, and funerals, the church opened its doors to the public for one last time on Saturday for people to bid on its pews, pulpit and even the church Christmas tree.
For Muriel Walker, the church’s secretary, it's a sad day.
"I taught Sunday school here for 29 years. It's sad in a way, but what can you do when you don't have the congregation?”
The bids for a piece of history didn't have to pay much.
Boxes of hymn books and bibles sold for a toonie. The organ sold for $50. The church itself for less than $2,000.
New owners Liana and Doug McLean are planning to keep the building intact and move it down the road.
"Definitely going to do a cottage with it. We had a number in mind for the building but we came in a lot lower than we thought,” he said.
What's left of the congregation will attend a neighbouring church in Queenstown starting this Sunday.
Money raised through the auction will help pay for a monument to the church. Any remaining funds will be donated to a worthy cause.
The handful of church members will join the nearby Queenstown Baptist congregation.