St. Matthias’ Church in Richmond secularized today

IMG_0930Roberts Hall served as St. Matthias' parish hall and meeting space.Signing papersBishop Steve Lane leads the Service of Secularization of St. Matthias', Richmond, Maine, on August 14, 2013.The Rev. Michael Ambler, rector of Grace Church, Bath, and president of the Standing Committee, reads the Declaration of Secularization.the order of service
This nativity scene, painted in 1951, will remain with the building.

St. Matthias’, Richmond, a set on Flickr.

Update: Bishop Steve Lane’s reflection on yesterday’s service

More than a year after the people of St. Matthias’, Richmond, voted to conclude holding worship services and ten months after the Diocese of Maine Convention approved the closing of this mission, Bishop Lane, other diocesan leaders, and officials from the Town of Richmond gathered to secularize the building on August 14.

St. Matthias’, home to an increasingly small number of members in recent years, wished the building to continue as a gift in the service of the community it had served since 1895. In the coming months it will become home to the community food pantry. Over the past year many, many liturgical items, pieces of furniture, and other objects of church life have found homes in Episcopal churches across Maine.

Bishop Steve Lane announced to those gathered: “We who are gathered here know that this building, which as been consecrated and set apart for the ministry of God’s holy Word and Sacraments, will no longer be used in this way, but will be used for other purposes. For many, this building has been hallowed by cherished memories, and we know that some will suffer a sense of loss. We pray that they will be comforted by the knowledge that the presence of God is not tied to any place or building. The Altar has been removed and protected from desecration. It is the intention of the diocese that the congregation which worshiped here will not be deprived of the ministry of the Word and Sacrament.”

The Lord bless us and keep us.

The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious to us.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace.

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