By Lachlan Labere/Black Press
With ceremony and some heartfelt sadness the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection has closed its doors.
The church held its final service on Sunday, Oct. 26. Included in the service was a ceremony for the closure of the congregation and the disposition of the church building.
Rev. Richard Klein has been the church’s pastor for the last five years. On the Thursday before the final service, he noted in a Times interview how, in his 45 years with the ministry he has only been involved with setting up missions, not their closures.
“It’s hard – it’s going to be very emotional,” said Klein. “That’s going to be a rough one for me. We’ll move on, where the Lord can use us.”
Klein said his congregation was already small in number, further declining as of late with people moving away, or passing away. He says this, along with declining interest in the church, are what led to the decision to close the doors at the church.
“It is my feeling that in this town, there’s just not much time that people spend for spiritual matters – they’re busy with other things. That’s just the way it is. It’s the state of affairs here as I see it,” said Klein.
While the Lutheran church building at 1502 Mountain View Drive has been in existence since 1988, the church’s presence has been felt in the community for more than 90 years. Lutheran missionary work began in Revelstoke in 1910, led by Rev. Alfred Rehwinkle. The first Lutheran services were held in the Big Eddy schoolhouse.
Klein said services were disbanded sometime in the 1940s, but returned in 1955 with the start of a new congregation under the name “Lutheran Church of the Resurrection.” Services continued in the schoolhouse until 1988, when the current church building opened.
Since its beginnings in the community, Klein says the church and its congregants have played a notable role in Revelstoke’s growth and development.
“I feel, historically, that they’ve been very active in the social aspects of the community. Not always with praise or holding themselves up, but just saying yes, this is what we are here for. Whether it be in community affairs – a whole matter of items and services,” said Klein.
Once the church is closed, and its contents redistributed, Klein said the church building will likely soon be on the market, adding he will continue to offer his pastoral services until he finds another part-time position elsewhere. He called the church structure a beautiful building, and a reflection of those who have cared for it over the years.
“I think the people who have taken care of it have shown their love for their lord,” said Klein, noting the church was built by a volunteer group called Labourers for Christ. “A lot of people worked on that building, putting in their labour and their time. It was quite an exciting thing when the church was built and dedicated, and now we have to close the doors. So yeah, there’s a loss.”
However, Klein says the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection may yet again live up to its name and return to the community if and when the need should arise.