Wesley United Church sold to YWCA

Wesley United Church, seen from 11 Street East. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

Wesley United Church has been sold, and will soon become the downtown headquarters for the Prince Albert YWCA’s settlement services.

Rev. Tony Thompson said that the YWCA made an offer for the building in January. The church’s board of trustees accepted it last week, and sent the agreement off to the lawyers.

Thompson said the YWCA’s social service work was the “determining factor” in their decision. He said that the congregation is excited to see the place start bustling with activity and good works.

“There will be people in the building every day again, and it will be used for things that are good for the community as a whole,” he said. “They reflect something of the United Church’s sense of mission to the wider community.”

The YWCA will take possession of the 65-year-old building in July, but agreed to allow the congregation to continue using the sanctuary for another year.

Thompson said the church was “hemorrhaging” money last year, especially after bills came due for renovation costs. But Wesley’s problems are really the result of an aging congregation, and the shift of younger generations away from mainstream organized religion.

“In the last three years, I have buried 30 people from Wesley United Church,” he said. “We have had about 20 members in the last years that have moved into assisted living spaces.”

When Thompson started, he said, there were about 120 worshippers at Wesley. Now they see about 65 on a typical Sunday. With those numbers, paying for upkeep on the building just wasn’t sustainable.

For more on this story, please see the March 22 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.