Beautiful, historic church becomes community
Rural Ontario was built by people
coming together to make their communities better. That spirit lives on in the
lakeshore hamlet of Kingsbridge where the community organized to save St.
Joseph’s Catholic Church when it was closed in 2012.
Jennifer Miltenburg is a director on the committee formed to renovate the former church which now operates as the Kingsbridge Centre. She says the church was the only meeting place for the community, and they weren’t prepared to see that disappear. They formed a charitable organization, bought the church from the diocese for $1 and set about renovating the building and bringing it up to current code.
When the Centre opened, about 300 residents of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh gathered to celebrate.
“We took possession of the buildings
less than two years ago, and already over 180 people have volunteered their
time and talents, and we have also received over $200,000 from individuals,”
Miltenburg says. “It is not only a community project, it is much wider in scope
– there are already way more volunteers than there are community members.”
Now the old church rings with the
sound of music with concerts like Huron Harp School, May 26 and the Huron Song
Chorus/Glister Children’s Chorus, June 25 (see listings for times).
From June 15-18, the community
itself will be celebrated with Kingsbridge the Musical, an original theatre
production written by Goderich playwright Warren Robinson that depicts life in
rural Ontario in the 1950s.
events are planned weekly throughout the summer and on into the fall. You can get more information on this unique
community centre at www.stjosephskingsbridge.com. You can find Kingsbridge on
Highway 21 south of Amberley.