Congregation of St. Luke’s Anglican Church coming to an end after fire

Parishioners of St. Luke’s Anglican Church on Somerset Street, which was damaged by a fire earlier this year, have decided to end the congregation.

“They’ll be gathering for their final worship after 150 years as a parish, as a congregation,” Linda Hill, Anglican Diocese of Ottawa Executive Archdeacon, tells CTV News Ottawa.

“Well, it was a period of slow decline over a number of years, a lot of churches have experienced that, and they’re in a challenging neighbourhood and then the fire came,” she says. “So that was the final thing, when they realized they couldn’t hang on any longer.”

The 100-year-old building suffered a fire in October.

The congregation has gathered for services in a chapel at All Saints Westboro. Sunday, the parishioners decided to request disestablishment.

“They had a congregational meeting on Sunday, and they decided that the time had come to where they needed to request disestablishment as a congregation,” says Hill.

“Sunday, I saw many of them – many of them in tears after our service on Sunday – and I was in tears myself,” says Tony Goodridge, a parishioner and choir member.

“I was raised in that church,” he says, “my brothers were confirmed, I was confirmed there; my brother was married there, and both my parents had their funerals there.”

Goodridge says he first came to St. Lukes when his family moved to the area in the 1970s.

“To me, it’s a community spirit, it’s a caring community.”

ST. LUKE’S TABLE

While services may come to an end at the site, the building has also been home to St. Luke’s Table, providing drop-in services since the 1980s.

“Providing services to people in the community who are unsheltered, or precariously housed; providing meal programs, social recreation, laundry facilities, showers,” says Rev. Canon Peter John Hobbs, Anglican diocese of Ottawa director of community ministries. “All of the things that could make life just that much easier when you’re living so precariously.”

He says some of those services have been provided at other locations, but the plan is return to the building after rebuilding from the fire, which could take a year to a year and half.

“This is a ministry center, from which we will continue to serve the community; in particular, those most vulnerable which are amidst,” he says.

As for those who worshipped at St. Luke’s, they have decades of memories of their time at the church,

“I’ll miss it, and the choir will miss it, and the congregation will miss St. Luke’s,” says Goodridge.

A final service will take place on Jan. 8 at the All Saints Westboro Chapel.   

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