Church transformed

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The sanctuary space will become an atrium and play area. Photo: Contributed
The sanctuary space will become an atrium and play area. Photo: Contributed

Nearly a decade ago, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg had fallen into disrepair. Located in a troubled neighbourhood where the poverty rate is at least double Winnipeg’s average, the inner-city church was contaminated with mould and asbestos. Its new incumbent, the Rev. Cathy Campbell, wondered how its ministry could even be sustained.

And yet, the huge brick building was home to five vibrant worshipping congregations. It also housed the Neighbourhood Resource Centre, which provided services ranging from meal programs to English language courses. Thanks to the vision and persistence of Campbell and her congregation, the church is being repurposed into “WestEnd Commons,” a $6.2-million multi-use, secular complex that includes a worship centre and affordable housing for low-income families. The vision is to create a sustainable future for St. Matthew’s and to help revitalize the area. (Twenty-two per cent of the project’s capital funds- $1.3 million-is still needed.)

For more details, visit www.thewestendcommons.ca. Send cheques to St. Matthew’s Non-Profit Housing Inc., 641 St. Matthew’s Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3G 0G6.

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Marites N. Sison
Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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