It was a bitter sweet day for the volunteers and church members at the United Church on Thursday, Sept. 20.
On Sept. 27, the thrift store will have its last sale, and on Oct. 7, the church will see its last worship.
“We’re happy and sad,” said Audrey Towle of thrift store volunteers. “We really want to go, but it’s hard to believe that it really is final.”
Towle says she considers the church to be a community one because when the previous United Church burned down in 1990, the whole of Cowichan Lake came together to support church members through their difficult time.
“We worshipped at every church in the area,” said Towle. “Tea at the Anglican Church, weddings at the Baptist Church.”
When the current building was finished in 1991, United Church members hosted a Christmas party for all those who had supported it.
“And now we are experiencing another loss.”
She says that the church closing is a result of fewer and fewer members and also because peoples’ lives are busier these days; they don’t have as much energy to put out the kind of support that would be needed to keep the church open.
The customers who come to the thrift store have been amazing, says Towle.
“If half of those numbers came on Sunday, we would still be here. It’s hard to run a church with only 18 people coming to worship.”
The members have been busy giving away or setting aside the furniture and equipment in the building, and much of it will be going to the Kaatza Museum or to other churches in town.
“We have been working like crazy,” said Towle.
She pointed out a pulpit that was built in 1946 by two gentlemen whose names are not known.
“It was made for the old school that we used to worship in,” said Towle. This old school used to be located on the corner of Wellington and Renfrew.
All items that are not sold at the last sale on Thursday, Sept. 27, will go to Cellar Treasures — another local thrift store located in the basement of St. Andrews Anglican Church, to Warmland House in Duncan, or to Providence Farm — also located in Duncan. Towle says that all items will be donated to these not-for-profit organizations.
The last thrift shop:
Thursday, Sept. 27
$5 per full garbage bag,
Get there early — doors open 10 a.m.