by Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Five months after their church was consumed by fire, an Anglican congregation will return to town for worship. St. Andrew Anglican Church will begin worshipping at the Morinville United Church beginning Nov. 24. Local Anglicans will hold their worship service at 9 a.m., just prior to the United Church congregation holding theirs in the same building.
St. Andrews Assistant Curate Laureta Blondin said after the June 16 fire, local Anglicans chose to worship with partner congregations in Gibbons and Bon Accord over the summer while a place closer to home was sought for the winter months when travel is more difficult. “They wanted to continue to worship with [Reverend] Ron [Horst] and I, and they thought it would be a good opportunity to also get together with some of the other parishes and meet with those people,” Blondin said. “We have been working hard, all of our parishes, to be one parish that worships in four different areas. With winter coming on, and a lot of the parishioners being older, we wanted to find something suitable so they wouldn’t have to travel on the highways so much.”
Blondin said finding space in town had been a challenge, particularly to accommodate those who are in wheelchairs.
“We looked at a variety of options, but I think the Lord was leading us that we would go to the United Church,” Blondin said. “The minister over there, Alice [Hanson] and the congregation has welcomed uswith open arms.”
Previously the Anglican congregation held worship at 11 a.m., but the new location will require services to move their worship services to 9 a.m.
Rebuilding not yet certain
Blondin said the church property was insured, and although the plan is to rebuild, just when is not yet certain.
“We had no plans in terms of updating the building that was there at the time,” she said. “So we really need to take some time to pray and give consideration to what we need as a facility for worship, and what we need in terms of how we’re going to be as a congregation in the wider community. Is there a partnership that might potentially be viable that we would share the land? We don’t know. So we want to take some time to explore those ideas before we simply build a new building.”
Blondin said the Morinville congregation consists of 35 families and generally draws 15 to 20 parishioners. They would like to grow the congregation. All are welcome to attend Anglican worship, beginning Nov. 24 at Morinville United Church.