The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest obstacle faced by the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Sooke. (Photo contributed by Marie Allen)

The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest obstacle faced by the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Sooke. (Photo contributed by Marie Allen)

Sooke church’s small congregation keeps the faith despite struggles

Holy Trinity Anglican Church was facing difficulties even before the COVID-19 pandemic

As people have slowly strayed away from organized religion, even before the COVID-19 pandemic worship spaces like the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Sooke were finding it hard to keep their doors open.

Father Dimas Canjura, the church’s pastor since 2014, said Sooke’s church is no different than churches across the country that are struggling to survive.

Canjura said the current congregation is comprised of roughly 20 people who come regularly, but the church is still facing financial struggles. And now, with the spread of COVID-19 forcing churches to temporarily close their doors, the historical Anglican church faces an uncertain future.

Elizabeth Johnson, the rector’s warden at the church, said the church has seen a dwindling in participation over the years, but she’s hopeful they can enjoy “a renaissance” once the pandemic is over.

Since the social distancing measures have been put in place and services are no longer being held, the church stays present in Sooke by ringing its bell on Wednesday evenings, showing appreciation for frontline workers.

“We are trying to think of different ways to present our faith,” said Johnson. “Perhaps people will realize during this time that they do need something besides themselves.”

Johnson noted the church has been a part of her life for many years, and she enjoys the sense of community and belonging it has brought in to her life.

“On Sunday it is so nice to see everyone and greet them,” said Johnson, adding she chose the Anglican church because of its rich and long-lasting history in Sooke.

ALSO READ: Holy Trinty serves up harvest dinner

Sooke resident Vibeke Vaerum, a fairly new member of the congregation, reached out to the Sooke News Mirror on behalf of the church, expressing her concerns.

“I would be so pleased if there were a little more awareness around this building, I see so much potential in it,” said Vaerum.

Vaerum explained she comes with a bit of a different background as far as religion, focusing more on meditation and having Christianity in her childhood, but she still enjoys attending the Anglican church.

“When I go to a service I really pay attention to the energy in the church. It’s an absolutely stunning, bright, sacred space, and Rev. Dimas’ presence is so beautiful and welcoming.”

The church is a key social support for Sooke seniors who attend the church, can offer people spiritual support regardless of their beliefs, and helps serve the community at large by giving back, Vareum added.

Another role the church plays in the community is through its Vital Vittles program, where volunteers serve lunch on Fridays to those in need. The outreach initiative has been running since 2004.

“We are all anxiously waiting for the pandemic to be over so we can get the kitchen open again,” said Johnson.

RELATED: Holy Trinity hosts dinner fundraiser

Both Canjura and Johnson said the Vital Vittles program is important to Sooke because it gives people in need a chance to come together, have a hot meal, and feel supported.

“That program is also very powerful to our believers, because for us, that is what is most important, serving the community,” said Canjura.

Canjura and Johnson said they hope the church will be able to continue forward, and more people will participate once the pandemic is over.

“It is important to continue praying to our Lord, to bring people together and give them hope, and to give back to those in need,” said Canjura. “Because God is there, and God is helping, especially in these hard times.

“God bless the community for all they are doing in this dark time.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ReligionSooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alphabet Zoo Early Learning Centre wants to relocate from Langford to 3322 Fulton Rd. in Colwood, but has not been approved for a P-6 zoning by Colwood council. Residents who neighbour the property, have expressed concern to the Goldstream Gazette regarding the potential daycare site. Neighbours Ryan Landa and Selene Winchester said the noise of construction has been disruptive to the area, and the property is not suitable for a daycare. (Photo contributed/Ryan Landa)
Proposed West Shore daycare stirs up controversy amongst neighbours

Neighbouring property owners are concerned about traffic, noise that a daycare would bring to the area

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Saanich Fire Department. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

The designation of March as Distracted Driving Awareness Month is among several measures designed to stop the use of hand-held phones. In 2018, Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, North Saanich Fire, BC Ambulance and ICBC partnered with Parkland drama students who played the role of driver, passenger and witness to simulate a car crash designed to prevent students from texting and driving. (Black Press Media File)
Police across Greater Victoria step up enforcement of distracted driving

More than a third of B.C. drivers admit to using phone while driving, even as most denounce practice

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Ottawa. Doctors in Alberta have signed an open letter asking for prioritized vaccination of health-care staff who work directly with patients on dedicated COVID-19 units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

Seniors 90+, Indigenous seniors 65+ and Indigenous Elders can book starting March 8

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read