Wyman Memorial United Church congregation opts to sell building in Hudson
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
The warm glow of the Wyman United Church windows is destined for a new location in the near future.
In light of declining church attendance, a significant majority of the members who attended the Sunday, February 3 congregational meeting voted in support of selling the 112-year-old building in the heart of Hudson.
“Now the real work begins,” Reverend Kent Chown told The Journal on Monday, February 4. During the meeting, the attendees were presented information regarding the options for their future from an ad hoc committee chaired by Martin Smith. The decision the congregation made means they will be moving to the church on Côte Saint-Charles in Saint-Lazare once renovations and additions to that building have been carried out.
Planning for the future
Chown said the committee would continue with a new focus on visioning and planning the imminent change. He and Smith said help was available from national level of the United Church of Canada.
“It’s too early to announce a timeline,” said Smith adding that in making it all happen in the next 18 to 24 months, they would avoid having to deal with replacing the roof on the building in Hudson.
Smith said he was relieved the Sunday meeting had gone well.
“Everyone was very open and respectful of one another,” he said. “The options were fairly limited, unfortunately.” He said people would need time to absorb the effects of the decision. “People are recognizing the circumstances the congregation is in. They will mourn the loss for a while but then move on,” Smith said.
“We hope to move forward together,” said Chown. “It’s really a question of the life and health of the congregation.”
New purpose for an old building
Community groups and organizations currently renting space in the building will be affected. Smith indicated the church had been in contact with the renters and some of them were accompanying the congregation to their new home.
As for the future of the Wyman building, the hope is that it will find a new purpose for its existence.
“We have had expressions of interest in the property,” said Chown although he did not reveal any names. The current plan is to integrate the stained glass windows in the Wyman sanctuary into the renovation of the Côte Saint-Charles Church. The pipe organ, on the other hand, will have to find a new home.
“There isn’t space for it in the Côte church,” said Chown adding, “We’re confident we will find an instrument to suit our needs.” When asked if the town had shown any interest in purchasing the property, Chown said it was a lovely idea but wouldn’t comment further. At the end of the monthly town council meeting on Monday, February 4, Mayor Jamie Nichols said he had only learned about the decision earlier in the day.
“The fact that Wyman is such an important place in our community, it’s a big development that the congregation has made this decision,” Nicholls said. “Certainly, it will interest all the residents of Hudson as to what will happen, going forward. We will have that discussion in caucus and listen to what the citizens have to say on this issue.”