St Michael & All Angels, Balfour
A Service of Deconsecration was held at St Michael & All Angels, Balfour on June 6, 2022.”
This service honoured all the sacred moments that had been celebrated at St Michael & All Angels, which was now being secularized. It memorialized all those who supported the parish through sacrifice and generosity since its preemption by C. W. Busk in 1889. The church building was opened for services in 1892.
At the deconsecration service, The Most Reverend Lynne McNaughton presided along with the Reverends Suzanne Basek and Marcella Mugford. In attendance were many longstanding members of the congregation including Josh Smienk representing both his family, who regularly attended the church, and the Balfour and District Business & Heritage Society: the new owners of the building.
The readings of the service were from The Feast of St Michael & All Angels: Genesis 28: 10-17, Psalm 84; John 1: 47-51.
In her sermon, Bishop Lynne retold the Genesis story: Joseph, realizing a certain spot in the desert was holy, erected a cairn of stones for an altar saying, “This is a place where I remembered God.” Bishop Lynne reiterated, “God is everywhere, but this is a place where I remember ‘God is everywhere.’”
The word “deconsecration” might sound ominous. And it is a bit like a funeral. Members of the parish were invited to eulogize what made St Michael’s special for them. The procedure for deconsecration was as follows: after the Eucharist, the altar was stripped of cloths, candles and cross by long-standing members of the parish. The procession then moved to the Lectern. The bible was taken away. Then the procession moved to the font.
At the font, Bishop Lynne said, “We thank you, our Redeemer God, for the water of baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.”
The font bowl was then removed.
After which, Bishop Lynne revoked the consecration made by Bishop John Dart, of New Westminster, on the twenty-first day of October 1895.
Even though the building had been secularized, Bishop Lynne, in her final words to the congregation, reiterated that “God is everywhere.”
According to Josh Smienk, the Balfour Business and Heritage Society will be using the building for heritage tours, concerts and meetings: The Balfour Christian Science Church currently holds services there.
The final act of tolling the church bell was conducted by Josh Smienk. It is said that the people in the surrounding area, even across Kootenay Lake in Proctor, regarded the Sunday bell ringing in great esteem.