Sudbury·Audio

Anglican parishioners consider new options after churches close

Anglican worshippers are saying good-bye to their churches in the Sudbury area.

Shedding the responsibilities of real estate can be liberating, priest says

Churches with dwindling populations continue to close, leaving parishioners looking for new spaces to practise their faith.

Anglican worshippers are saying good-bye to their churches in the Sudbury area.

Long-time St.James parishioner Lori Cameron says the congregation has dwindled to 25 and can't afford to maintain the Paris Street building.

The last service will be held Dec. 7. After that, they have tentative plans to rent a storefront in a mall.

Another church, St. Mark's in Garson, was just put on the market and the worshippers are now populating other congregations.

Further afield on Manitoulin Island, The Diocese of Algoma says there are five Anglican churches now, instead of six.

One priest serves them all. There used to be three.

However, the Venerable Anne Germond with Church of the Ascension in Sudbury says shedding the responsibilities of real estate can be liberating.

“Some of the resources that are tied up in the buildings can be freed for some maybe exciting new ministry possibilities,” she said.

Germond said the changes are bittersweet, but the church resides in the people, not the building.

In contrast to this trend in the Sudbury area, an Anglican church in North Bay has moved to a bigger building to accommodate more parishioners.

Christ Church has as many as 100 worshippers on Sunday mornings.

Priest Marie Loewen says her North Bay congregation is very welcoming and adaptable to busy lifestyles.

“So there's a lot of freedom to be as involved as you want to be,” she said.

“I think that's part of it. I think that once you're growing, it's more fun to be part of something that's growing instead of something that's decreasing.”

The church has to connect in new and different ways than it once did, she added.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said Anne Germond is with Christ Church in Sudbury. The name of the church has been corrected to Church of the Ascension.
    Nov 20, 2014 10:33 AM ET

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