St. Matthew’s United Church, Calgary, worshipped for the last time in its building last Sunday but its ministry will continue to live on in new and significant ways.
Sunday’s decommissioning service took place as a result of two years of faithful, mission-driven discernment by the St. Matthew’s leadership and congregation. Chinook Winds Community of Faith Strategy consultant Rev. Joel Den Haan worked with St. Matthew’s leaders to consider a range of opportunities for local mission in Southwest Calgary.
“The unique characteristics of the St. Matthew’s property such as parking restrictions, and zoning considerations, limited re-development options on the site,” says Den Haan. “So the congregation turned its attention to broader mission opportunities in Chinook Winds Region.”
With the guidance of specialist broker Joe Belland, CIR Realty, another church from the ancient Coptic Orthodox tradition was found. So the building remains a church while maximizing the asset value for our United Church. St. Matthew’s congregational leaders have said they feel this is the best outcome they could have attained, as members of the congregation can now participate in close by United Churches- notably Lakeview United. Meanwhile, Chinook Winds Region builds from St. Matthew’s faithful legacy a financial base for planning and mission, with possibilities for youth and young adults, Indigenous ministry, and other programming for arts and leadership development. Consultations around next steps for St. Matthew’s legacy are now underway with Executive Minister Treena Duncan.
Clockwise, beginning at top left: St. Matthew’s Chair Brian Burrows offers some remarks at the decommissioning service; Rev Bill Phipps offered the final prayers; Pianist Evan Mounce, Vocalist Beth Elliott and Flautist Joan Cobb-Beaumont offered the hymn, O God Beyond all Praising; Retired Clergy Rev. Clint Mooney presided at the service along with Chinook Winds Pastoral Relations Minister Rev. Lee Spice; Joan Cobb-Beaumont and finally, Wendy Knutson gave a historical account of St. Matthew’s ministry.