Monday, February 13, 2006

Prayers for a Tragedy

The congregation of Minnedosa Manitoba has lost their church building. See the story here.

This is tragic on so many levels. Not only for the loss of the church building and all that was in it but also to the heritage of the community. There are precious few century-old buildings in the Canadian West. Now there is one less.

Prayers arising for the people of Minnedosa United.


  1. How very sad. I left a comment on Shawn's blog and will add them to our community prayers on Sunday.

  2. I shared this with our feisty elderly neighbour, who is from Minnedosa, this morning. Sue knows her. Anyway, while she said "Oh!" and "Too bad!", she didn't sound heartbroken.She shared a memory or two, and moved right on to something else.

    I also remembered the rural congregation in Joyce's settlement pastorate, named Greenridge United (southeast Manitoba). Imagine church literally in the middle of nowhere, beside a gravel road, rimmed with fields. That's Greenridge. And it was beyond doubt a community centre and historic place of worship.

    Trouble was, Greenridge was falling apart; freezing in winter (snow through the wainscotting), mice chewing up the hymn books, foundation having totally forgotten what "Square" is. You name it.

    A few years before we arrived, they built a new church 60 metres away. Ripped up the old one. There are dozens of reasons why the people of Greenridge prefer the new church over the old, and they didn't hesitate to tell us them.

    While Minnesdosa UC was an historic building, and the congregation hadn't made a choice to knock down and rebuild, this event (I refuse to call it a tragedy; "shame" will do, and even that is qualified) may present a hidden blessing in the opportunity for a new building that suits the climate, the present population, and present technologies in ways the old building made impossible.

    After all, Minnedosa UC still has the people.And the memories.

  3. Thanks for this Gord ... This was a tragedy and a shame. To dismiss the loss of our Church building as something other because it is 105 years old misses the reality of what the grand old building was.

    The central building was erected in 1900 and opened in 1901 ... and since then there has been renovation and addition after renovation and addition.

    18 months ago we completed a 12 week reno of the kitchen, bathroom and heating facilities. 12 weeks ago we removed and reinstalled a heritage window dedicated to the Pioneers of Minnedosa.

    Today the town nursery school has to start anew with nothing ... the Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies have NOTHING ...

    It was not a 105 year old building on the cold bald prairie. It was not a 105 year old building that was falling down. Since 1994 there have been no less then five major renovations and additions ... Our 105 year old building was a modern, up to date, fully functional much love and much used facility sitting on the Main Street of our town and open to all people.

    It was and is a tragedy, and to call it anything other is to be oblivious to what the building was to the people of the Church and the people of the community ... The hugs from the children at the elementary school on Monday morning as I dropped off my kids told me that it wasn't just a United Church building - it was a building that belonged to our community ...

    And we mourn its loss ... but embrace the potentials ...

    rev. shawn, minnedosa