Unique ser­vice

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

A unique spir­i­tual ser­vice, be­lieved to be the first of its kind in this prov­ince or per­haps even Canada took place this week­end on the North Shore of Con­cep­tion Bay.

Four “sa­cred cor­ners” of Memo­rial United Church in Burnt Point were ded­i­cated Sun­day, in a unique spir­i­tual ser­vice, be­lieved to be the first of its kind ever held in this prov­ince or per­haps in Canada.

The ren­o­vated (in­te­grated) sanc­tu­ary of the church was also re-con­se­crated dur­ing the Nov. 29 ser­vice.

Rev. Peggy John­son, United Church Min­is­ter at the Pas­toral Charge ex­plained, “in 2008, the five United Churches along the North Shore of Con­cep­tion Bay, from North­ern Bay to Caplin Cove, de­cided to amal­ga­mate into one con­gre­ga­tion. They chose Cal­vary United Church (now Memo­rial Church) in Burnt Point as the mother church, and the four other churches closed and have been sold.”

While amal­ga­ma­tion of con­gre­ga­tions is not un­usual, Rev. John­son sug­gested, “what is un­usual is the unique­ness of this sit­u­a­tion. Th­ese folks didn’t just bring their church mem­bers into one con­gre­ga­tion, they ac­tu­ally in­te­grated the sa­cred el­e­ments from all five of their churches into one.”

The church at Burnt Point has been ren­o­vated to ac­com­mo­date the sa­cred el­e­ments from the four closed churches, each church hav­ing a sa­cred cor­ner.

“Each of the four cor­ners of the church has been uniquely re­designed and fur­nished with the pul­pit, com­mu­nion ta­ble, com­mu­nion rail, bap­tismal font, pic­tures, plaques and memo­rial items from the re­spec­tive for­mer churches,” she noted.

Ap­par­ently, th­ese items had been de­con­se­crated when Caplin Cove, Lower Is­land Cove, North­ern Bay and Job’s Cove United Churches were closed.

The in­cor­po­ra­tion of th­ese el­e­ments into the newly ren­o­vated church will al­low for­mer mem­bers and their de­scen­dents to main­tain a link with their her­itage by hav­ing bap­tisms, wed­dings and spe­cial ded­i­ca­tions per­formed amid fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings.

“ While this may have... hap­pened some­where in the world,” Rev. John­son pointed out, “there is cer­tainly no prece­dent for it in our prov­ince... and, from what we can gather, no prece­dent in Canada.

“ This move truly brings to fruition the bib­li­cal com­mand of be­ing One Body in Christ,” she con­cluded.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from East District and the United Church Con­fer­ence of­fice were in Burnt Point Sun­day for the ser­vice.

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