St. Michael’s and All Angels’ Church, built in 1892, has been acquired by the Balfour and District Business and Historic Association, who plan to maintain it as a key community asset. Photo: Submitted

St. Michael’s and All Angels’ Church, built in 1892, has been acquired by the Balfour and District Business and Historic Association, who plan to maintain it as a key community asset. Photo: Submitted

Anglican archbishop to deconsecrate historic Balfour Church

The church’s final service will take place June 6

The Archbishop Lynne McNaughton of the Diocese of Kootenay, Anglican Church of Canada, will deconsecrate Balfour’s historic St. Michael’s and All Angels’ Church on June 6.

When a building is initially consecrated, it is dedicated for Christian worship. Located in the heart of the old townsite of Balfour, the landmark church held its first service back in 1892. Since then, it has not only been faithful in its ministry and mission for 129 years, it has also remained a popular community focal point, hosting everything from weddings, to countless fundraisers and even served as lodging for the Ktunaxa peoples at certain times of the year. The last Anglican service held in St. Michael’s was on Dec. 24, 2019.

The service on June 6 is slated to start at 10 a.m., and will begin with Archbishop McNaughton inviting memories and visiting various points inside the church before proceeding outside, where the service will come to a close. The public is welcome to attend depending on COVID-19 gathering limitations.

There is always a sense of sadness in saying farewell to a beloved structure, especially a church like St. Michael’s, with all the years and generations of memories it carries. But, along with all the fond memories there is also a sense of enthusiasm within the community that St. Michael’s legacy will continue to positively impact Balfour and the outlet communities in its new secular role as St. Michael’s and All Angels Chapel and Performance Centre.

The Balfour and District Business and Historical Association, which purchased the heritage building in the spring of 2021, did so with the hope of regenerating it into a self-sufficient, vibrant community hub that will stand for many years to come. The association believes this can be accomplished without materially altering the Chapel’s historical character.

The association has already started making the heritage chapel more accessible. A new wheelchair accessible ramp and entranceway have been completed and a new septic system is currently in the works. A small addition is also planned on the chapel’s north side to add a few amenities and storage. Inside, some minor upgrades in electrical, heating and signage will be needed as well as a few modifications to improve handicap accessibility.