Hundreds attend Easter Sunday service at recently reopened Sydney church
Published Sunday, April 16, 2017 6:52PM ADT
Easter Sunday was a homecoming of sorts for parishioners of Saint Marguerite Bourgeois Parish.
It was the first time the church opened its doors since sustaining heavy damage during last October’s Thanksgiving Day flood.
“It's just wonderful. I was excited even driving in and I saw the crowd streaming in,” said Rev. Bill Burke. “Just arriving here was a sense of energy and excitement.”
More than 400 people filled the pews, with extra chairs needed for the growing crowd.
It's been nearly six months since this church was nearly destroyed when more than 220 millimetres of rain fell in the Sydney area in less than 24 hours.
The experience was traumatic for some.
“I thought maybe it was finished,” said parishioner Steven MacLellan. “I thought they were going to tear it down because there's other churches we could've used it this was gone, but they kept it open and we're happy to be back.”
The church looked like a construction zone until just a few days ago, but everything came together in time for the holiday weekend.
“It's lovely. Just lovely. It's a good day,” said parishioner Lorna MacDougall.
But scares of the flood remain in this neighborhood. Many homes remain boarded up, with several others being left vacant or torn down.
The Easter Sunday service brought a sense of normalcy back to this community.
“I think it's a sign of hope for the whole neighbourhood actually,” Rev. Burke said. “Three of the people who lost their homes in the neighbourhood were here this morning. They were sharing our joy at being back and sharing a sense of excitement that although those homes are gone, this neighbourhood is still here."
Though many residents are still struggling to put their lives back together, Rev. Burke feels his parishioners and the community will be alright.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.