An Anglican church that has been a fixture in Peterborough’s north end for nearly six decades is closing its doors at the end of the year.
The service on Dec. 31 will be the last for St. Barnabas Anglican Church on Hilliard Street, which opened its doors in 1961. The church will be amalgamating with St. John Anglican in the city’s downtown. The decision came as the city’s Anglican churches and Lutheran church created a commission to study possible amalgamation.
The decision came Monday for St. Barnabas’ fate. Rev. Mary Belle-Plouffe says it will be an emotional transition.
“It’s sort of like a wedding when you have two families coming together,” she said.
Declining membership is prompting the closure as just 60 members fill the pews each Sunday, too few to remain sustainable.
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“It’s hard to leave a worship space that you love but many of these things you see here are going to come with us so that’s going to be a comfort,” said Bell-Plouffe.
But Rev. Brad Smith at St. John church says the impending closure brings new energy to the 191-year-old church.
“We’ve become very encumbered by buildings over the last few centuries,” he said.
“One of the things we are learning is that the building is important but at the same time the church is not the be-all and end-all of the church as the body of Christ. The building is secondary to what we do.”
The future of the St. Barnabas building has not been determined but in the short term, the combined congregation will help pay for hydro and snow-clearing and the nursery school in the basement will remain open.
“It’s not like if you build it they will come,” said Bell-Plouffe. “The church is called to go out and make connections in the community and that’s how faith can build.”
St. John Church will receive a new name: Parish of St. Barnabas and St. John’s.