The structure will not be torn down before going through an official process, according to the Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Central Newfoundland.
Bishop Rt. Revd. John Watton issued a written statement on St. James Church in King’s Cove on Tuesday morning, July 4.
In recent weeks, a petition has been circulated among people who are trying to make sure the church is not torn down after it is deconsecrated.
The deconsecration was originally planned for late July.
But now, Watton says, after meeting with appointed church leaders on Sunday, July 2, they will try again to keep the church open.
In the release, he states each congregation member will receive a letter from him, and given a chance to reply, detailing what will be needed to keep the church active.
He will then hold a meeting on the formation of a new vestry. The current vestry has only three members.
“The discussion will not be about saving a building, but about determining if a ministry is desired by the people or if it is viable,” says Watton.
While discussing the previous decision to close the church, Watton noted attendance at worship at St. James ranged from 10 people to none on Sundays.
The deadline for this discussion will be Oct. 15.
After that date, if a local ministry is determined no longer viable in King’s Cove, Watton says the diocese will invite proposals for the repurposing and transfer of the church building.
“At that time there will be a completely outlined document prepared so that prospective parties can fully understand the complexities, implications and requirements,” he says.
The diocese will work closely with anyone who is interested in purchasing the church with the end result of a mutual understanding, he adds.
They will accept proposals until Nov. 30.
According to Watton, if there are no proposals or they are “unable to complete the process” of transfer, only then will the church be “respectfully taken down.”
In the meantime, in addition to the concern of dwindling interest, Watton also outlined the many concerns about the state of the building.
He says it has peeling paint, cracked and leaking windows, deteriorating stained glass, unsafe landings and unkempt grounds.
As a result of the leaks, they “strongly suspect mold is present in various places throughout the chancel and sanctuary.”
Watton says the church will be closed to the public until an air quality test is completed.
In the six-page document, Watton also detailed the timeline of events leading up to this decision.
He says, even after originally planning the closure of the church in February, he had hoped local people would protest and come forward to ensure the church stayed open.
But Watton says they are always willing to see buildings repurposed for meaningful service.
To read the Bishop’s statement in its entirety, go to http://www.centraldiocese.ca/this-is-the-bishops-release-concerning-st-james-anglican-church-in-kings-cove/.