Halifax church closing after final mass on Sunday

St. John the Baptist Church has been a central part of the Armdale community for nearly a century, but after mass on Sunday, it will be closing its doors.

Parishioner Alain Godbout gives tours of the church on Purcell's Cove Road in Halifax, but not for much longer.

"It’s got German stained glass, Italian statues, incredible woodwork," Godbout said. "This church, this particular one, has been struggling for a decade."

Combine the dwindling congregation with the pandemic and the diocese didn't have a choice.

The church opened in 1929. Before that, it was used as a powder magazine during the First World War. It has been a significant part of the community since.

"The stained glass windows always tell the story of religion," says historian Blair Beed. "We have a mayor of Halifax who is remembered, who is the mayor of Halifax at the time of the Halifax explosion, and then died when he was a senator."

The church will be sold, but it's too soon to speculate about what will happen to its contents.

"Maybe they can become something meaningful in the community other than a regular church," Godbout said. "So, that could be a community centre, it could be a residential development of this space."

Another parishioner, Brenda Boudreau, wishes something could be done to preserve the church.

"I think it’s sad that it’s going to close," Boudreau said. "Maybe that’s what should happen, maybe it should be kept open as a museum."

The final mass at St. John The Baptist Church will be Sunday at 4 p.m. and it will be filled to the maximum allowable capacity under the COVID-19 protocols.