• James Armstrong

Hudson’s Wyman United Church seeks new direction


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Members of Wyman United Church built in 1907 are considering their future as they face dwindling membership and financial resources.

The congregation of Wyman Memorial United Church in Hudson is exploring several possibilities for their future in light of declining attendance.

“The congregation isn’t as robust as it used to be,” congregation member Martin Smith told The Journal in December, 2018. “We are running a deficit every year and we are maintaining two buildings. We owe it to the future of the congregation to really come to terms with this.” The two buildings Smith was referring to were the Wyman Church located at 513 Main Road in Hudson and the Côte Saint-Charles Church at 2503 Chemin Saint Charles in Saint-Lazare.

Considering the options

“Currently, we’re evaluating all of the options out there,” said Smith. To facilitate that process, an ad hoc committee was formed following a congregational meeting held earlier in the year. Moving the congregation to the Côte Saint-Charles location and selling the building and property in Hudson is one of the options being considered. A second is to look at what it would take to keep the building in Hudson operational.

“Neither option is free of charge,” said Smith, noting the Côte Saint-Charles building would have to be renovated and modified to accommodate the size and needs of the congregation. The Wyman Church would also require significant renovation work including a new roof and updated electrical wiring.

When asked what the impact would be to move the congregation out of the heart of Hudson, Smith replied it would be upsetting to people.

“As a committee, we know these are decisions that are both logical and emotional. There are no simple answers,” he said. Currently, the congregation worships in the Côte Saint-Charles building during the summer months and at Wyman the rest of the year.

Timeline of events

Sorting out a timeline and planning for the future has been part of the process.

“We are looking at all the factors that affect the decision-making process,” said Smith noting replacing the roof and other building repairs cannot be put off indefinitely. “If we don’t look at these things, then we will find ourselves having the choices being made for us because the roof will have to be replaced.”

Part of the future financial picture for the congregation includes the sale of a piece of property to the non-profit organization responsible for the development of the Villa Wyman housing project for seniors. According to Smith, although the project was progressing, the sale of the property had not yet taken place.

Next step in the process

The ad hoc committee will be presenting the facts and figures of the possibilities at a congregational meeting on Sunday, February 3.

“At that point, we will be asking people to make a choice about what we want to do,” said Smith. He added it’s not simply a question of which building to maintain and use but also determine the ministry and involvement of the congregation in the wider community. In Smith’s estimation, about 50 per cent of the congregation lives in Saint-Lazare and the rest come from the Hudson area.

“This coming Sunday, we are looking at making some serious decisions,” said Chown. If the congregation decides to make the move to the Côte Saint-Charles Church, Chown said they would begin a process of visioning what their ministry would be in their new home.

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