IROQUOIS – On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, the Anglican Parish of South Dundas announced that it has accepted an offer to purchase St. John’s Anglican Church in Iroquois by Green Power Farms LTD.
The St John’s property is zoned institutional. Terms of the sale have not been announced.
Pending the completion of paperwork, the closing date of the sale is scheduled for September 15, 2017.
“Final approval of the sale must also be given by Bishop Chapman and the Bishop’s Office of the Diocese of Ottawa (which includes South Dundas),” said Reverend Jon Martin, parish priest.
“The funds from the sale will go into the central trust fund of the Diocese of Ottawa, and will be specifically earmarked for the development of future ministry within this parish.”
Martin further explained that “diocese policy is that funds can only be used for outreach and capital improvements, but not for operating expenses.”
The final decision to sell St John’s (the Anglican Parish is also made up of St. James in Morrisburg and Holy Trinity in Riverside Heights) was arrived at by the parish vestry and all the members of the church at an annual general meeting.
The final decision to sell was confirmed by a secret ballot by the active members of the congregation.
Then approval had to come from Bishop Chapman and the Diocese.
Martin says that this has been a very tough decision for the Anglican congregations. Before the decision was made, there were months of discussions and meetings and extensive research.
Shrinking resources and increasing operating and maintenance expenses first led to the possibility of selling one of the parish churches.
“In 2015, our parish was doing extensive financial consultations about its future,” Martin said. “We carried out a large number of studies and surveys internally and externally, and consulted professionals for statistical and demographic reviews.
We were advised that St. James was more central to the entire parish, and also placed in an area within which there were more support needs.
St. James was also assessed as having the greatest potential for future growth and improvement for the parish.”
Over 2016, the parish made a number of attempts to try and re-purpose St. John’s within the community, but support for any of the proposed possibilities was not there, according to Martin.
“The decision was made in February of 2017 to put the property up for sale.”
Green Power Farms Ltd., purchaser of the St. John’s property, had to meet the ethical standards for the sale established by the diocese.
The original St. John’s Anglican Church, in old Iroquois, was demolished during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the current building erected on a site in the new town.
“This is a really difficult time for the St. John’s congregation,” Martin said.
“However, we are talking about bringing special artifacts, like the altar and other church relics, here to a St. John’s Hall, so the memories, the stories and the history of the Iroquois church will live on.”
Martin did point out that the possibility of a special hall or meeting space down the road was still very much in its early days of discussion.
With the closure scheduled for September 15, the parish is planning a Service of Healing, which will be led by Reverend Pat Martin, followed by a service of De-Consecration and Celebration before that date.