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.
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.