Letter to the Editor for July 6,2016

What will the future of St. John’s be

Editor:

On Thursday June 30 a final service was held at St. John’s the Evangelist Anglican Church, which has now been deconsecrated. There was a good turnout with the Bishop of B.C. and many others in fine vestments leading the service.

I have lived in the vicinity for nine years and have sadly watched both the church and the parish hall deteriorate, with appropriate maintenance ignored, and leaks staunched with tarpaulins.

One has to ask why good stewardship of such a significant heritage building in our community was so blatantly lacking. Who is responsible? St John’s church itself or the Diocese of the Anglican Church in B.C.?

I have no doubt the cost of maintenance and renovation was too high for a small congregation to directly handle. However, preservation of heritage sites and buildings is of some importance to our provincial government through Heritage BC and relief can be available if appropriately sought.

The main building is over 150 years old and was transported from Wellington in 1900. It started life as a school for the children of Anglican miners and later become an Anglican church in 1902, when public schooling was available. The Parish Hall was added in 1955.

What is the fate of the church building to be? Since the land is of significant value, developers are probably already looking at it. Who will benefit? The Anglican Diocese or the poor old church? It is to be hoped that some provision will be made to preserve this important part of our local history in an appropriate setting.

It is said “where there’s a will there’s a way”. However, to date there is little evidence of will in this instance.

Michael RowellLadysmith