Maple Lake United Church (MLUC) will be closing after members voted on Jan. 30 to disband the congregation effective Feb. 28.
Rev. Max Ward and the church’s trustees, in a letter to members, adherents and friends, dated Feb. 7, shared the news “with regret.”
Ward said all church matters after Feb. 28 would be administered by the trustees with the support of the East Central Ontario Regional Council.
He added there would be a final closing church service “perhaps in July 2022 as COVID-19 restrictions permit, and will be held indoors and/or outdoors on the church lawn.”
Ward said Highland Hills United Church (HHUC) has invited anyone to be part of their worshiping community and welcomes all to transfer their membership. A new members and adherents service will be held Sunday, Feb. 27 via Zoom. Memberships will be transferred automatically unless people advise otherwise by Feb. 20. “Many other area churches would welcome your presence in addition to HHUC,” he said.
Items in the church are being catalogued and a new home, or homes are being considered.
Ward said they also need to decide what to do with the land and building at the corner of Hwy. 118 and Stanhope Airport Road.
“The MLUC Trustees are currently exploring options and working with the East Central Ontario Regional Council to finalize matters,” he said.
The closure comes after the church put out an SOS in November.
At that time, Rev. Ward said they were hopeful that with a bit of awareness, the church might be able to continue for many years to come “but the current outlook isn’t good without an infusion of more people to help with the volunteer work and financial support needed to operate the church.”
A few years ago, Zion United Church, Minden United Church and MLUC were in talks to amalgamate. Maple Lake opted out at that time, but Minden and Zion did amalgamate. The Zion church and property were sold. The Maple Lake United Church was erected in 1901.