The St. Peters Anglican Church had its final mass on Sunday, January 15th, 2018. Roughly 30 people came for the finale, including past parishioners, previous Minister, Regional Dean from Vernon, the Arch Bishop from Kelowna and the potential new owners.
Long-time church member, Kathy Bush told the Revelstoke Current just how hard it was to see it go. “A lot more hugging went on and a lot more tears. I had to blink away my tears just so I could read the music.”
As of now, it is no longer a church, only an old building with many memories that shadow the halls. In terms of historical events such as a baptism or funeral the historical records from the church will be in the hands of the Diocese in Kelowna, and any information desired can be found through the archivist.
An offer on the property has been laid out before the Diocese of Kootenay, however the final terms have not been rubber stamped. Many long-time parishioners who have memories in that church have concerns about what could happen to their beloved building.
The offer on the table is from the Eternal Riders non-profit charitable organization, that is affiliated with the King’s Cathedral and Chapel located in Paia, Hawaii that has 11 factions in Maui, 5 in Oahu, 3 in Molokai, 2 in Kauai, and 1 in Lanai and the Big Island.
While they may receive spiritual support and guidance from the King’s Cathedral, the ownership will be on a local level through the Eternal Riders. In fact, this new location is destined to be the base for their Canadian headquarters.
International Director and Pastor, Pascal Hardy told the Revelstoke Current over the phone “We will worship, have bible nights and encourage young people to come to town. We plan to keep the building the way it is. The Chapel’s structure does need help; we plan to invest in making it structurally sound.”
When asked what particular line of faith they follow, Pastor Pascal stated that “It is born again Christian, bible believing with a desire to reach people that come to Revelstoke for the reasons of sports and express themselves through creation.”
On a local level, Dallas McLean is the National Director for the Eternal Riders organization and he sat down with the Revelstoke Current to explain in detail what their plans are for the property as well as what they hope to achieve within the community.
“We see how this place is currently being used and we want to enhance on that. The plan is to get the community involved in the entire project. “
McLean stated that those that hold the church close to their hearts; need not worry. There are no plans to rezone the area as they are a faith based program and intend to keep it as is. This organization, as a faith based program, will be adhering to the rules and regulations set by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), as any church in Canada does.
Rumors of the church being used as a homeless shelter have been floating around; however, these rumors are simply not true. The plan is to maintain the building for their worship purposes and to offer the building as a community facility for other groups to use. McLean indicated that they do have plans to renovate, but only to bring the structure up to code and update the interior.
“There will only be structural issues that need to be addressed, we might make it ‘less 70s’ inside but we love the way it looks. In fact, we love the plaque and message that is inscribed and hanging outside. That will remain as well. ”
The Eternal Riders are looking at creating a six-month internship program for those interested in their style of faith and worship. The adjacent brick landmark will become a housing facility for those in the internship program. McLean explained in detail what the Eternal Riders is at its core and what their main message is.
“We are not a Church, but a faith based organization. Many of us are Pastors and many staff are professional sport enthusiasts. I identify with the message of church and bible, but I did not connect to the ‘traditional’ sense of church. This is a reimagining, a translation of the message to a culture we understand.”
McLean reiterated that nothing is set in stone; however, those concerned for the historic building can rest easy knowing that this new group intend to preserve the structure, the history and to open the doors to other groups that would like to use the space for their own events and activities.
Despite the decommissioned status, those that regularly attend mass at St. Peters, may continue to do so on the last Sunday of every month.