A Nunavut church built in the 1940s has been demolished after falling into disrepair.

The tiny stone building, which had once been a Roman Catholic church, had been a mission house in the years following its construction.

It was located in the hamlet of Kugaaruk, which has a population of less than 1,000 and is located about a day's travel by plane from Nunavut's capital, Iqualuit.

Bishop Anthony Wieslaw Krotki says he was shocked when he first heard the church had been torn down, Nunatsiaq News reports.

"I learned about it the day after the church went down because I didn’t know anything about the plan," Krotki says.

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay then learned the hamlet was behind the church's demolition and plans had been in place for awhile.

The community was concerned for the safety of its children, who often played in and around the old church. Krotki says rocks were falling from the steeple.

A fence had already been put up around the church, but the hamlett felt their only choice was to completely remove the risk and as as a result, remove the church.

"I am pretty sure people in Kugaaruk were concerned about their children," Krotki says.

"It was up to the community to decide [what to do with the church] because they had taken [over] the responsibility."

The church had been turned into a museum and had not been used for worship in many years.

Krotki says the building had been left as "a sort of a reminder of what was there."

The hamlet told Nunatsiaq News they had no comment to make about the church's demolition.

The church was built in 1941 by Fathers Pierre Henri and Franz Van de Velde, known in Inuktituk as Ataata Vinivi.

A government grant was later given to the hamlet for restoration work on the church and to turn it into a historical site. Prior to demolition, however, the work done during the renovation had also begun to decay.

Many Kugaaruk residents offered their thoughts on Facebook.

"It is very sad," one resident said online. "If the church had the funds, I am sure it would have been rebuilt for historic purposes."

As the church was a historical landmark, workers removed the cross and bell from atop the church using a cherry picker. After demolition, the rocks used in the church's construction were saved and stored with the cross and bell.