Closures evoke sadness among parishioners
Anglican churches close
TRURO - A mixture of sorrow and practicality embodies the emotions many feel as two area Anglican churches are facing imminent closure.
St. George's in Bible Hill and Christ Church in Clifton will close their doors next month. There's no official decision on what will be done with the buildings in the immediate future. The closures mean there will only be one Anglican church in the immediate Truro area: St. John's.
"I hate to see it go ... my ancestors from five generations were involved with this church but you have to be practical," said Wyman Yuill of Beaver Brook, who has attended Christ Church for about 60 years.
The one-room church - snuggled in between Old Barns and Beaver Brook - was opened in 1858 and serves about half a dozen people and only holds one annual summer service. The highest attendance is estimated to have reached 20 people.
"If nobody comes you can't stay open," said Yuill, adding he believes lack of amenities also led to its demise.
"We never had Sunday school that amounted to anything and there's no basement and
Wyman and his wife Eileen said the church holds precious memories, including the baptism of their five children and grandchildren.
"But we knew it eventually would close; it's not surprising," said Eileen.
Clifton's last service will take place July 26 at 10 a.m.
St. George's was built in the early 1960s; about 40 people gather on Sundays. About 90 people filled the church in its heyday in the 1970s, said minister Peter MacRae.
"Most of the reason for closing is money, declining membership and people have other things to do on Sundays. Also most churches can't afford a full-time minister and there aren't enough retired ones to fill in," said MacRae, a retired minister since 2002.
Fred Carpenter has been attending St. George's for almost 20 years and, although sad, supports the closure decision.
"It's the proper thing to do ... attendance is down and there's trouble maintaining the building," Carpenter said.
"The last day I'll feel a little regret, nostalgia and sorrow ... I'll miss the fellowship. But I think there's a trend of amalgamating mainstream churches," added Carpenter.
St. George's will host a special celebration service June 25 at 7 p.m. A deconsecration service will be held July 19 at 10 a.m., recognizing the building is no longer a place of worship.
Lori Ramsey, minister of Truro's St. John's Anglican Church, anticipates some parishioners from the closing churches will join St. John's.
The closures "are sad but it's an opportunity to come together and there's strength in numbers," said Ramsey. "I think it makes more sense to have one building instead of three with two of them being smaller congregations."
St. John's sees about 150 people for Sunday services and dates back to 1825.