North Bay –
When structural problems closed St. Peter’s Anglican Church two weeks ago, parishioners were left with no place to celebrate the Christmas service.
“We ended up having an engineering report done on the building and it was deemed unsafe,” said the father. Kevin McAllister, who is the incumbent at St. Peter’s.
So McAllister turned to Fr Daniele Muscolino, pastor of St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church, for help.
“It was actually the first time that Fr. Kevin and I met,” said Muscolino. “He shared with me some of the problems with the building in St. Peter’s. “
The Catholic congregation was informed of a plan to share the building with the Anglican congregation and they happily accepted. They opened their doors to members of the Anglican community so that they could organize their own Christmas service.
“At one point it looked like we were going to have it in our living rooms, so it was a lot better,” McAllister said.
The structure of St. Peter’s Anglican Church is over 130 years old and has been temporarily closed. It is currently unclear if or when it will reopen.
“It’s up to the congregation and diocese of Algoma to try to come up with a resolution regarding the building and what the future of St. Peter’s might be,” said McAllister.
Muscolino said Callander’s faith community is tight-knit and helping other Christians in need is the right thing to do. He compared the situation to the story of the Nativity.
“It’s similar to the Christmas story – Mary and Joseph had nowhere to go,” he said. “But here in Callander, it’s different from Bethlehem. Our neighbors had a place to go.
For now, Anglicans will continue to celebrate their own service at St. Alphonsus Liguori, regardless of Catholic mass hours. While it might seem a little different, both church leaders said they were people coming together and practicing their faith.