Academic journal article Manitoba History

Church Regeneration at St, Matthew's Anglican, Winnipeg

Academic journal article Manitoba History

Church Regeneration at St, Matthew's Anglican, Winnipeg

Article excerpt

What do you do when you have a beautiful old church with a capacity for 1,200 people, built in 1913, now beset by leaks, black mould, asbestos and a failing basement floor? Time for some creative thinking, fancy financial footwork, and a leap of faith. That is exactly what has happened at St. Matthew's Anglican in Winnipeg at the comer of St. Matthew's and Maryland in the west end. Imposing, beautiful but unsustainable with its smaller congregation, the church had already made many sensible adjustments over the years, welcoming five smaller congregations to share worship space, developing and being open to numerous worthwhile outreach programs to assist neighbourhood needs, but the church was at a crossroads. To let St. Matthew's rector, the Rev. Cathy Campbell, tell it, there came a day when a gas worker was at the door "with a wrench in his hand," ready to turn off the gas. Crunch time. A bequest from an unknown donor gave the congregations some breathing room and a choice to make. They could use the money to plug the leaks and survive until that money ran out, or do something much more radical. They decided to take the gift and pay it forward by investing in an affordable housing project within the church itself.

Disrupting and sometimes disheartening, work proceeded in dismantling the lovely sanctuary, as the six congregations watched the interior gutted while they worshipped in hidey-holes in the basement. …

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