QUEBEC: St. Paul's Anglican Church in Lachine will close Sunday
January 21, 2013
After 140 years, St. Paul's Anglican Church in Lachine will close its doors Sunday after the final sermon. Attendance has dwindled steadily over the past decade, forcing the church to make the difficult decision.
The closure is part of a trend: in Lachine alone, four other churches have shut their doors over the past five years.
"The demographics are shifting, the parish has aged and the resources are limited," said Rt. Rev. Barry B. Clarke, who was the rector at St. Paul for 11 years.
His memories of the church are fond.
"I remember even as a student when I was at McGill and hearing something about what was happening in this parish and the great energy that went around in hosting the annual bazaar for the parish, but for the wider community and the dinners that they hosted as well," he said.
Members of the parish will move to other Anglican churches in the area.
That will be tough for some parishioners, like Wayne Price, who started going to the church 32 years ago.
Price said the church was thriving then.
"There was a very big congregation who always seemed to be welcoming and very involved in the community," he said.
Founded in Lachine as Country Church in 1873, it burned down in 1941.
A sculpture of a golden eagle at lectern was saved from the fire by parishioners, as were stained glass windows dedicated to Canadian war veterans.
Services were held in other facilities until 1964, when the church that stand now was built, and the windows were reinstalled.
Price feels the community is losing more than simply a place of worship.
"The church has been open to a lot of community groups over the years, a lot of functions. It will be missed. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't see that now, but not too long down the road they will see that," he said.
A farewell service will be held Sunday, followed by a choral Eucharist in the afternoon.
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