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

Greater Victoria tourism industry ‘can’t wait any longer’ for financial aid

Saanich mayor, business owners call on provincial, federal governments for tourism-specific aid

COVID-19 demolishes new construction in Greater Victoria

Value of new building permits in Greater Victoria drop more than 37 per cent

Group desperate to find solution to wrecks lining shores of Cadboro Bay

Caddy Bay ‘a wild west’ without authority, say locals

No architect for Langford building ruled ‘unreasonable’ by B.C. Supreme Court

Legal action brought against City in 2019 for permit issued on Hoffman Avenue building

Pauquachin First Nation calls on North Saanich to help restore shellfish in Coles Bay

The nation identifies ‘residential onsite septic systems’ as one of sources of contamination

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

Gold River ready to welcome visitors and restart local businesses

In contrast to single-industry remote communities, Gold River’s diversified economy might help it better survive after reopening

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Most Read