Down to a faithful few, Loreburn church closes its doors

Organist Ruth Rendall plays a piece from memory at the close of Loreburn United Church's final service on Nov. 6.

Organist Ruth Rendall plays a piece from memory at the close of Loreburn United Church’s final service on Nov. 6.

By Joel van der Veen

LOREBURN — When lightning struck the Loreburn United Church in May 1948, igniting a fire that destroyed the building, its members faced some difficult questions.

“I can only imagine the horror that went through everyone’s mind the night that happened,” said Keith Forrest, speaking to the congregation on Sunday.

“In the Christian faith the question always is ‘why.’ Why this church? Why now? Why would God let that happen?”

Before long, the church’s members — including Forrest’s father John — turned to the idea of rebuilding. In 1949 they built a new sanctuary on the same site, with people of all denominations throwing their support behind the project.

“The question ‘why’ turned out to be a positive,” said Forrest, “so this community could rally, rebuild and start all over again.”

Forrest himself noted the irony as he spoke to the crowd gathered for the church’s final service on Sunday.

While his father had played a large part in the church’s construction almost 70 years ago, he said, “I’m one of the people that has the honour of selling it.”

A service of closure was held at Loreburn United Church on Nov. 6, marking the end of a 98-year history.

Roughly 50 people were in attendance, virtually all of them middle-aged or older.

The crowd easily dwarfed the church’s usual attendance — between 10 and 15 people on a typical Sunday morning, and sometimes dipping into single digits, especially during the winter months.

Leaders said it is increasingly difficult to find volunteers to run programs or even maintain the building, with more work falling on fewer shoulders.

The church board made the decision several months ago to put the Loreburn building up for sale and amalgamate with Elbow United Church. (A call for tenders was issued in August but has so far been unsuccessful.)

The two churches already share a minister, Rev. Ursula Wiig, and recently they have held services on an alternating basis — one week in Elbow, the next week in Loreburn.

For the full story and more photos, please see the Nov. 14 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

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