Kamsack Doukhobor Society sells its prayer home

            The Doukhobor Prayer Home in Kamsack is being sold this month, which is about 62 years since it was constructed.

            The sale was expected to be final this week, said Fred Konkin of Pelly, chair of the society. Val Ritchie is buying the building where she will be holding her yoga classes.

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            Konkin cited an aging congregation, now numbering fewer than 20, and the rising costs of maintaining such a building. He said the building had been kept up through membership fees and donations.

            “The Kamsack Society of Doukhobors will continue, much like they do in Benito and Pelly, we just won’t have a building,” he said, adding that members will be using other prayer homes, most likely the one in Veregin, for services.

            Konkin explained that the building has been emptied of its effects, such as pictures, and were moved to Veregin.

            “It’s sad,” said Lydia Cherkas, a member of the congregation. “Our forefathers were active and Doukhobor families spread all over Canada. The belief remains, but the numbers are dwindling.

            A 60th anniversary was celebrated at the prayer home on December 13, 2015, when Mike Chutskoff of Kamsack, the only living member of the society who had volunteered time during the construction of the building, had the honour of cutting an anniversary cake.

            “The Society of Doukhobors of Kamsack and District opened its new prayer home, valued at $15,000 in an impressive but brief opening ceremony on June 22, 1955,” said an item in the Kamsack Times.

            The ceremonies climaxed more than 11 months of toil by volunteer labourers and a final rush week of putting the finishing touches to a project which had been conceived 42 months earlier, it said.

            The opening began with a prayer service led by N.W. Cazakoff and emcee for the vent had been William Chutskoff, chair of the building committee.