“We have decided to dissolve our partnership, so we have sold our share of the building to the Bishop, and have decided to rent a place at the Presbyterian Church,” he says.
The two churches came together in the late 1960s to build the new building on the land previously occupied by the Anglican Church, whose building had deteriorated and moved to the Old Fort to be part of a park. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire by vandals in 1970 before it could be repaired.
Although the relationship has been a “fantastic” one, Christensen says the time has come to make a change.
“There’s maybe some different theological beliefs, but really it was time to move on so we made that decision,” he argues. “We felt that it was time to dissolve the relationship, and it’s been a while in the happening, but it’s finally come to fruition.”
The land is owned by the Anglican Diocese of Caledonia, and St. Luke’s voted to accept the offer from the Bishop on July 28. The congregation will be moving into the Fort St. John Presbyterian Church on Friday, August 16, and the first service will be held there this Sunday. It will have full use of the building, as well as its own dedicated space. A six month contract has been signed, after which time the church, which is not large enough to support its own building, will re-evaluate its location.
“This is a good move for us right now,” Christensen says. “It just fits for us right now. We’re going to see what happens at the end of that contract, if the relationship is good, if the building is working for us. If it doesn’t, we’ll be looking probably somewhere else.”
He adds that so far the Presbyterian Church has been very welcoming, and is probably a “better fit”. The two’s theological beliefs are also closer than those of the Anglican Church, as the United Church actually spawned from the Presbyterian Church when it was founded in 1925.
The final service was held yesterday at the shared church, with members of the Anglican Church in attendance, which Christensen said was emotional, but filled with hope for the future.