Five churches on Eastern Shore merging to prevent risk of closure

Five churches on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore are merging to a single building to help reduce costs.

The Anglican Parish of Seaforth and its churches depend on donations and they aren’t making enough money to maintain five buildings.

“Back in the day, the churches were very well attended, but the emphasis has changed over the years and the congregation has dwindled in size,” said Rod Eastman, a member of Saint James Church in Seaforth and a former parish warden.

The other churches in the parish are in Lower East Chezzetcook, Head Chezzetcook, Porters Lake and Lake Echo.

Bringing in new members

Eastman has been a leading figure in preparing the plan to move to one location. It was approved by the majority of 60 members in September.

He hopes that by merging the five churches the members will be able to focus more on doing missionary work that will encourage more people to attend.

“We can’t afford to do it right now and we don’t have the energy because the congregation is so busy trying to raise money to maintain our buildings,” Eastman said.

Creating a stronger community

About 80 per cent of the congregation approved of the plan, but Eastman said it’s still a “personal thing for a lot of people and not just strictly a financial one.”

Many of the members have an emotional connection to a particular church, but Cheryl MacLeod ,who has been parish treasurer for the last seven years, said the move will be beneficial to everybody.

“I think it will bring everybody closer,” said MacLeod. “We are like five members of one family, but we are not as connected as we could be, so what I’m hoping, with amalgamation, is that we will be stronger.”

Contributing to the new structure

She said the merged church might find a new building, or take on one of the existing buildings, but will still have pieces from the other churches.

“If people are able to contribute to the new structure with some of the things they have in their current buildings, whether it be some of the stain glass or a big mural, then I think they will have some ownership in that new space,” MacLeod said.

The parish is still discussing the transition process. There is no fixed date when the new church will be formed.

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