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Saving the Goat Island Baptist Church: where it stands

The Goat Island Baptist Church is the oldest Baptist building in Nova Scotia and possibly Canada.
The Goat Island Baptist Church is the oldest Baptist building in Nova Scotia and possibly Canada.

Clementsport, NS – The Goat Island Church Preservation Society is one step closer to owning its historic church.

The group met Friday, May 5 to discuss ownership of Goat Island Baptist Church, which is being sold by the Clementsport Baptist Church’s congregation, which can no longer afford its upkeep.

A majority voted informally at the meeting to take over ownership, but the decision is contingent on one factor: insurance costs.

Paul Wear, a member of the group and president of the Clements Historical Society, says it’s a yes to ownership if insurance is quoted at less than $1,000 per year.

If the quote is higher, the historical society will reconsider taking ownership and the conversation will continue there.

The preservation group has experienced an increase in support over the last month since this discussion started.

Its membership has doubled since the Clements Historical Society was first approached in April. Donations toward the church’s upkeep have also been received from as far away as Texas.

The Goat Island Baptist Church, as it stood in April 2017. Some repairs have since been made to its roof to repair leaks.

Preservation society president Joe Potter says fixing the church’s floor will be “priority number one,” since it currently can’t safely support a group of people.

Things are looking good, but the decision will not be finalized until final numbers for insurance costs are in.

The group intends to look into grant options and to reach out to members of the Potter family – the original church owners – to see if more may want to help. Several descendants have already expressed interest in contributing funds for the project.

“Even in the last month people – some related to the Potter family – have reached out saying they want to help,” says Wear.

The group remains optimistic that a solution will be found.

The Clements Baptist Church has listed three possible outcomes for the Goat Island church:

        1.     Sell it to the Goat Island Church Preservation Society

        2.     Sell it to the Clements Historical Society

        3.     If no one assumes ownership, the church may be demolished.

Membership to join the Goat Island Preservation Society is $10.

The society is also a registered charity on www.canadahelps.org and accepts donations online.

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