Anglicans witness deconsecration of church

by Derek Cornet

Eighty-five years after the first Anglican service was held at the late Jack Twidale’s farm near Meadow Lake, the presence of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church has come to an end.

The remainder of the church’s congregation gathered May 20 to witness Bishop Michael Hawkins deconsecrate their building on the corner of 1st Street and 3rd Avenue East and pronounce it as secular. For some people at the service, it was a moment they wished would never come.

“I’ve been with the church since the first church started,” long-time parishioner Gladys Maloney said. “I’ve had five generations who have been through the church. Seeing it end hurts because we don’t really have an Anglican church anymore.”

In recent years, congregants of Holy Trinity Anglican Church and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church have been sharing the services of a single minister. They had also been splitting their time between the churches by switching the service location every three months. However, since Rev. Rob Stringer moved away close to two years ago, both groups have been without a person to lead them.

Hawkins has since been coming to Meadow Lake to perform those duties. He has travelled to the community once every three weeks so congregants could receive communion. Hawkins said because Anglicans and Lutherans were spending a considerable amount of time with each other, it didn’t make sense to maintain two buildings.

“We build more churches than we leave – sometimes we leave a church to build,” Hawkins remarked. “Anglicans and Lutherans in Canada are what’s called full communion, so we can pretty well share everything. They’ve really come together in a way that’s special and positive. They still have different ways of thinking and doing things, but they’re fundamentally united.”

The present location of the church has remained constant since the early 1930s. According to church documents, a rectory was built in 1933, considerable improvements were completed in 1954 and an old school house was converted into a hall in 1955. A second extensive renovation was undertaken in 1984 and, by 1991, 22 different pastors led the congregation.

A revival took place in 2003 when members built a new church. The congregation was able to pay for the church quickly and did so by Christmas Eve 2004. The sale of 15,600 perogies and 8,400 cabbage rolls helped cover the cost.

Hawkins went on to say, even though the church was relatively new, costs were becoming too high to manage two buildings. He also expects the transition to be a smooth one with normalcy arriving when another pastor arrives in mid-August.

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