12 Dec 2020
A group of churches in Regina are coming together to help ensure a sustainable future for their respective congregations.
St. Luke's, St. James, St. Matthew, St. Phillip and All Saints Anglican churches are merging into one parish.
The planning for this move has been underway for years, as many congregations around the country have been seeing a dwindling number of churchgoers.
Cheryl Toth, archdeacon for the Archdeaconry of St. Cuthbert, which oversees the Anglican churches in Regina, said the goal is to combine "resources of all kinds, people and otherwise."
Toth said the initiative began in early 2018 when the bishop of the diocese brought in leaders from eight different parishes in the Regina area to consider the future of the church in that region.
As a result of those discussions, five of the seven Anglican churches in Regina chose to form one — the Immanuel Anglican Parish.
Toth said each parish has been working on the logistics of the move for a while, but the pandemic has forced them to do most of their work through online meetings and town halls.
She said the change slowed things down a bit, but it's has also had a positive effect.
"Having to meet through Zoom and seeing each other's offices and living rooms, or basements or [wherever] people were talking from, also built relationships between people," she said.
"It's been a hindrance, but in some ways it's also focused people on why they're doing this and enabled them to build relationships together in these online working groups."
Toth said there have been a range of emotions from congregation members throughout the moving process.
"I think like most of us, when we encounter big changes, we feel a variety of things," she said.
"I think there are people feeling excitement about the possibilities and the hope that this represents, and the energy of being able to gather with other people of like interest and pursue some of their passions."
She said there's also some apprehension about potential changes to worship patterns or other things people became accustomed to at their respective parishes.
Either way, Toth said meetings have been happening regularly to keep the lines of communication open.
As for which church buildings that will soon sit empty, Toth said final decisions haven't been made.
She said they'll be used as temporary worshipping locations for the time being to help with physical distancing. Once those measures are lifted, one of the buildings will be made into the parish's permanent location while the others will either be re-purposed or sold.
Toth said the goal is to have the combined congregation settled into its central location by early 2021.
— reposted from an article on cbc.ca by Cory Coleman.
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