Sudbury

Closed churches force change on northeastern Ont. parishoners

Dozens of Christians in northeastern Ontario will be sitting in different pews at Christmas services this year as several churches have closed their doors in the past year, in the face of dwindling congregations and mounting building costs.
Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Sudbury's Donovan neighbourhood was closed this summer and sold to Grace Family Church. (Erik White/CBC)

Dozens of Christians in northeastern Ontario will be sitting in different pews at Christmas services this year as several churches have closed their doors in the past year, in the face of dwindling congregations and mounting building costs.

Pauline Kruk is one of them. For the first time decades, she won’t be at Holy Trinity Catholic Church this Christmas.

The church was originally spared from closure three years ago, but this summer, the diocese reconsidered and sold the Burton Street building to another church.

The congregation was merged with another Sudbury Catholic church.

Kruk said she isn’t sure if that’s where she’ll be for Christmas Eve.

“I’m still not decided where I’m going to go for my Christmas mass. We all have to make changes in our lives … [and] this is another change,” she said.

“But most people were very disappointed. In fact, they’re so disappointed ... some of them are not going to church at all.”

Building costs add up

Susan Lachance is going through a similar change, as the Webbwood United Church she attended for 35 years was shut down about a month ago.

She said she misses the church already, but in the end, it became more about the building itself than what happened inside.

“That’s not what you’re supposed to be doing in the church, just concentrating on paying those bills,” she said. “So it does make you wonder if we’re headed in the right direction.”

Lachance said she is hoping some of the church’s outreach activities will continue in Webbwood, even though the parishioners now attend services in Espanola.

Back in Sudbury, St. Paul’s United Church in the city’s west end also closed earlier this year.

The building was set to be sold to an Islamic group planning to turn it into a Mosque, but that deal fell apart and the Regent Street building is still on the market.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now