United Church in Grand Falls-Windsor shutting doors for good

The doors at the First United Church in Grand Falls-Windsor will close for good after this Sunday's service.

The first service was held in the church in September of 1958.

Congregation chair Jennifer Pilgrim said the closure is necessary because of dwindling numbers choosing to join the congregation.

"We are a declining enrolment and aging population and we just couldn't keep up the church," she said. "The building needs a lot of repairs and with so few people we can't afford to the repairs on the church. We all saw it coming, we didn't want to admit it, I guess."

Pilgrim said it's a difficult time for the parishioners who remain there, since there is a sense of community among them.

"It is very sad because we were a close-knit family," she said . "A smaller church is not like a larger one — there is a closeness within the people.

Once strong congregation

Pilgrim said even though she has only been a member of the congregation for 30 years, she's seen times when the church has been filled to capacity.

"I've seen the church full, hymn sings and services where the Salvation Army came it.," she said. "I've seen it when you've gone downstairs to use the washroom and you'd think the floor would give way with the amount of people in the church."

Members of the congregation have been given certificates of transfer that will enable them to join a church of their choice.

Grand Falls-Windsor's remaining Memorial United Church is one of several that have extended a welcome to the displaced parishioners from First United.

A closing service will be held at 7 pm on Sunday, March 19, with officials from the United Church Newfoundland Conference in attendance.

Once the church closes, the plan is to put the building up for sale.