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Murray Journal

One Murray historic church returns; another moves out

Mar 04, 2020 12:02PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

The St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church is currently vacant and available to be leased after the Maronites moved to a new home in Taylorsville. (Photo courtesy St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Two historic churches in Murray have experienced significant changes in the last few months. The Murray Baptist Church reopened its doors in October, while the St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church relocated to a larger building.

The Murray Journal reported in March of last year that the historic Murray Baptist Church (184 E. 5770 South) was shuttering its location. The congregation, a mainstay in Murray since 1891, was suffering financial setbacks and growth issues.

After the last sermon on March 31, 2019, the intention was to sell the chapel and assets to support other Baptist church efforts, such as Camp Utaba. However, the vote to close the church in March was determined to have not followed proper church protocols.

In a statement posted on the Murray Baptist Church’s Facebook page, “It has been determined that the legality of the vote that took place on March 10, 2019, to close the church was null and void due to not following the constitution of Murray Baptist. There was also a voter purge that occurred before this vote, which was also not conducted within the guidelines laid down by the constitution.”

A June 9, 2019 vote held by the church reversed the earlier decision, and it was decided to reopen the church in the fall. The church had its official grand reopening on Oct. 20, 2019. One member, Liz Pattison, was named secretary of the Association of American Baptist Churches of Utah.

The Murray Baptist Church has come close to losing its church in Murray before, twice due to fire.

In downtown Murray, the St. Jude Maronite Catholic Church (4900 S. Wasatch St.) is moving to Taylorsville. The Maronite Catholics have been in their Murray location since 1976, but it was the original home of the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, which was constructed in 1927.

According to parishioner Tom Allem, who has been coordinating the move, “The reason we are moving is that we bought a new building that is 100% handicap accessible. We can get our people in and out easier. It is bigger than what we had in Murray. So, we’ve grown out of the building pretty much.”

The stained-glass windows from the original building have been relocated to the new building (5445 S. 2700 West). The first services in the new location were held on Feb. 22.

The Maronite Catholic Church, centered in Lebanon and Syria, was formed by Syriac Christians who developed their hierarchy and traditions from the mid-fourth century onwards. As an Eastern Catholic Church, it is in full communion with the pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

The leader of the Maronites, Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, visited the congregation back in 2017. The parish holds an annual Lebanese Festival. Father Joubran BouMerhi currently oversees the parish.

The Parish of St. Vincent de Paul was established by the Reverend Patrick Maguire, the first pastor, in September 1925. The parish was comprised of Murray, Midvale, Sandy and Riverton but had no church to meet in. In 1927, the diocese bought property on Wasatch Street and completed construction in July of that year.

The church opened the St. Vincent de Paul School in the basement of the Wasatch Street building. Much like the Maronite congregation, the St. Vincent de Paul parish outgrew the confines of its church. In 1963, the church purchased property on 1300 East and Spring Lane, where the St. Vincent de Paul parish relocated in 1964 and has been there since. The Maronites needed space when they organized their parish in 1975 and took advantage of the vacant chapel.

“We’re trying to lease that church out right now. It’s listed, so hopefully, we can get it leased out to somebody,” Allem said.