The last worship service at St. Richard’s , a Celebration of the Eucharist took place Sunday, January 17th at 2pm.
The Rev. Walter Bayley, already retired, joined the parish with his wife Mae and daughter Carolyn in 2004. The parish had been in decline for many years but benefited greatly from his unstinted, generous care, acting as priest-in-charge. After more than five years, in the Fall of 2009, Walter announced his decision to retire permanently.
After prayerful consideration and active participation in the North Vancouver Deanery Ministry Assessment Process (MAP) not to mention three Vestry Meetings the congregation of St. Richard of Chichester, Norgate voted almost unanimously to petition the Bishop for closure.
The Bishop’s permission was given and St. Richard’s closed as of December 31st, 2009 after nearly six decades of carrying out God’s Mission, ministering to the people of the Norgate neighbourhood in the Lower Capilano district of North Vancouver.
Bishop Michael presided at the Eucharist and as he has done in the past, in place of a homily he opened the floor to the parishioners of St. Richard’s inviting them to share a memory or two with the congregation. The memories were of children and Sunday School, clergy who stayed for a brief time and some who stayed for many years. The memories painted a picture of suburban Lower Mainland life that is a great deal different today than it was in the 1960’s and the 1970’s when St. Richard’s was at the apex of its ministry.
One of the highlights of the service was “A Brief History of St. Richard’s” written and read by Dora Harvey.
St. Richard of Chichester Norgate was in fact a “church plant” of St. John the Evangelist, North Vancouver. The original building on the site in 1950 was a Parish Hall to house Sunday School and recreation facilities as part of Anglican Worship and Ministry in North Vancouver supported by St. John’s, and St. Catherine’s.
As Dora writes at the conclusion of her piece
“As in its beginnings, so at its ending St. Richard's has been buoyed and encouraged by the support of the deanery sister churches. And there IS hope for a future - hope that St. Richard's will be born to new life, within the deanery, in some form not yet known to us, as the deanery itself begins perhaps re-shaping its own future. “
"Let us hear what the spirit might be saying to the church".
The St. Richard’s congregation will receive pastoral care from the Reverend Shirley Stockdill and Shirley will base her ministry out of St. Catherine’s Capilano.
For a pdf copy of Dora Richard's article please click HISTORY