Dawning of a new era at Wesley United Church

 

 

New Wesley United1By Ron Giofu

 

It’s the end of one era and the beginning of another for Wesley United Church.

With the exception of moving some cupboards and other odds and ends, the church is no longer located at 365 Sandwich St. S. and instead is at its new location at 580 Middle Side Road. A brief farewell service was held Sunday morning at the old site before the new church was dedicated in a service later that same morning.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Rev. Del Stewart. “God has called our church to do something new. I think God is always saying ‘Behold, I will do a new thing.’”

Stewart said the move is in line with where the local faith community is at as well as where the United Church is at in general. He liked what he saw at the newer, smaller church.

“It’s wonderful, just wonderful,” he said.

The process that took place over the last year to sell and move from the Sandwich St. S. location was “painful” at times for many, but there is now a sense of relief among people now that they are moved and in a new location.

“The congregation went through a real grieving process over the last year,” acknowledged Stewart, “but now it is rejoicing and happy over doing this new thing.”

Stewart noted Wesley United Church has many in the congregation who have worked hard to assist the church through the move.

“We’ve been blessed with people who have put their shoulder to the wheel,” said Stewart.

Ian Phillips, a parishioner at the church and a member of the building committee, said there are some stained glass and chandeliers that have made it to the new Middle Side Road church and that has eased the transition for some as they see objects they are familiar with.

“Pieces of the old church have come with us,” said Phillips. (Congregation members) feel a lot better about the move than they did originally.”

The new church is roughly 2,000 square feet, down from the 9,000 square feet that was at the old church. Phillips said there are roughly 30 people that attend services each Sunday and that it made sense to have a sanctuary that could be converted into a hall during other parts of the week.

The church secretary now operates out of the new church and Phillips added that “as far as services go, we are out of the old church.

“For all intents and purposes, we are done there.”

Phillips also praised Pacitti Contracting, the owners of the Middle Side Road building, for turning what was an empty space into the new Wesley United Church.

“They’ve really taken basic concepts and turned them into reality,” said Phillips. “The quality of their work is amazing. There were no cut corners.”

The Sandwich St. S. site is in the process of being rezoned for new owners. While town council passed zoning bylaw and Official Plan amendments Sept. 16, the church and the site’s new owners await the outcome of a 21-day appeal period before things become official.

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