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.