Nfld. & Labrador

Heritage society fights to preserve Anglican church in Green's Harbour

The heritage society in Green's Harbour says a recently closed Anglican church is worth saving because it's a community landmark and an important part of the area's history.

Closed church a community landmark, says group

St. Matthew's has been a part of Green's Harbour since 1880 and the local heritage society wants to keep it from being torn down. (CBC)

The heritage society in Green's Harbour says a recently closed Anglican church is worth saving because it's a community landmark and an important part of the area's history.

The group has written the Bishop of the Eastern Diocese of Newfoundland and Labrador asking for permission to take over the church, which was deconsecrated along with three others on Jan. 6.

The chair of the society, Nancy Brace, told CBC Television's Here and Now on Monday that the 135-year-old church is part of the landscape of the Baccalieu Trail.

To tear it down, she said, would be "like tearing down Westminster Abbey or tearing down the Eiffel Tower."

Nancy Brace is with the Green's Harbour heritage society, and wants to save the town's old Anglican church. (CBC)

Brace was a member of the United Church in Green's Harbour and said when that church came down, "it really did tear the community apart."

She also wants to avoid the type of arguments that have divided Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, where a church steeple was toppled in the night as Anglicans argued about moving to a more modern facility.

The historical society isn't saying what it would do with St. Matthew's, which was built in 1880.

"We haven't dared think beyond saving the building," said Brace. "But we've been throwing down a few ideas, for appropriate uses."

Brace said Bishop Geoff Peddle is supportive but said the congregation will have to decide.  

Four churches on the Baccalieu Trail were deconsecrated in early January, and conregations will now worship in a former elementary school. (CBC)

With four churches in the area coming together in a new vestry, Brace said she may have to float the idea to a broader group.

"For many of them, it [has] been heartbreaking but I would hope they'd see the value in saving the building even though they've lost it as a place to worship."

The heritage society would like to save all four churches from Green's Harbour to Heart's Delight, but Brace said the group would need financial support — ideally an interest free loan.

"That stretch of the Baccalieu Trail, minus those four churches, would be a sadder place," she said.

"The tourism ads are going to have to change drastically if all those buildings are gone."

With files from Azzo Rezori

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