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Ladysmith Anglican church to close its doors

St. John the Evangelist church in Ladysmith will shut down this summer, ending 115 years of Anglican presence in the mid-Island community.
St. John the Evangelist church in Ladysmith - photo
St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Ladysmith.

St. John the Evangelist church in Ladysmith will shut down this summer, ending 115 years of Anglican presence in the mid-Island community.

The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia reported that the church’s 35 parishioners have voted to disestablish or close down as a legal entity in the community.

Logan McMenamie, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of B.C., will deliver a special sermon at the church on the evening of June 30, the last service in the building.

Catherine Pate, spokeswoman for the diocese — comprising the 45 parishes on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Kingcome Inlet — said an aging congregation and the need for a new building forced the decision.

“There are not enough of them where they are in a position to feel they can start a new base and a new building.”

According to the St. John the Evangelist website, the parish dates to 1901, and hired a full-time priest in 1903.

The church building dates to 1901, when a schoolhouse for children of coal miners was moved from what is now Nanaimo to be used for services.

The building has been modified since then.

Parishioners in Ladysmith who want to continue attending Anglican services have the option of St. Philip Cedar in Nanaimo or St. Michael and all Angels in Chemainus.

Pate said the closing of St. John the Evangelist will be discussed at a synod meeting this weekend.

She added, however, that diminishing parishes are not just an Anglican issue.

“This is an old church, a historic, old church and the parish is historically skewed that much older,” she said.

“It’s a challenge facing not just the Anglican church but all churches.”

rwatts@timescolonist.com