‘Full cir­cle’

Lower Is­land Cove U.C. con­gre­ga­tions unite

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY EVER­TON MCLEAN

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.

em­clean@thetele­gram.com

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