Lower Island Cove U.C. congregations unite
Five United Church congregations in Conception Bay North joined as one on Eastern Sunday, April 12, amalgamating into a single congregation.
Minister Peggy Johnson said the change comes after years of people moving out of the area for work, dwindling the congregations of Caplin Cove, Lower Island Cove, Job’s Cove, Northern Bay and Burnt Point to about 80 families in total.
“The economic situation in this province over these past several years has seen more and more people leaving our outport communities,” Johnson said. “The out-migration has resulted in such diminished numbers that the five congregations of the Lower Island Cove Pastoral Charge have decided to come together into one.”
Johnson, who presided over each congregation, said the numbers had gotten so low that on times only five or six people were cowing up to each individual church.
Sunday’s celebration of the new congregation, however, attracted about 70 people.
During the service at Burnt Point, the congregation officially closed, reopened and renamed the former Calvary Church as the new home for the amalgamated group.
Johnson said when each of the other four churches were closed during Lent, people expressed grief at losing the institution in their community.
But she said, on Sunday that grief turned to a sense of a “new beginning.”
She said the fellowship associated with more people gathering in one place added to the atmosphere, a feeling she hopes to maintain as the new congregation goes on.
“It certainly was there (Sunday) and I think it will continue to be,” she said.
Johnson noted the rejoining of the congregations was a “full circle” for the pastoral charge, which started more than 200 years ago as a single Methodist congregation, but split into five separate congregations over the years.