Wesleyan church buys former Catholic church
New life for Nativity
AMHERST - New life is being breathed into the Nativity of Our Lady Roman Catholic Church.
Members of the Amherst Wesleyan congregation were out in full force over the weekend fixing up their future home after the church purchased the Cornwall Avenue property from Holy Family Parish.
"We're so excited about this, it gives us room to grow," Rev. Raymond Fancy said while watching workers scrape paint from the building's exterior. "Our present building has served us well but we've outgrown it and this will allow our congregation to grow and better serve our members. This will give us more of an opportunity to reach out into the community."
Purchase terms were undisclosed but it includes the church building and the former rectory that will now serve as church offices and Sunday school classrooms. A series of renovations are planned for the former church including raising the stage area and installing new lighting, a front entrance and new pews. Fancy hopes to be in a position to move in for the first Sunday service in November.
"This is great news for our congregation, we're looking forward to doing what we have to do to get the church ready so we can move into our new home," said congregation member David Harrison, as he climbed a ladder to scrape loose paint from above the main entrance. "This is going to be the home of our church for many years."
Their new home is two to three times larger than their existing Spring Street facility, which will be offered for rental purposes or sold. That building was formerly a United Church in Fort Lawrence before being taken down and reassembled in the fall of 1961.
Fancy said there are presently about 85 members in the Wesleyan congregation. The former Nativity location can house up to 250.
"We've pretty much maxed out our present church and we need the room to grow," Fancy said. "I've been here for about eight years and our congregation has been growing since then, but because of our facility we could only grow so much."
As it prepares to move, Fancy said the old pews from Nativity are being offered for sale and number of them have already been spoken for. Anyone wanting to purchase them can call the Wesleyan church at 667-0689.