Expect some Hallelujahs this Sunday as the congregation at St. Andrew's United Church downtown is finally back to holding services in the sanctuary after more than a month of meeting in the church hall.
"It's going to look so clean and fresh and let people know that the place still has some kick in it," said minister Bert Ramsey on Monday, as he watched the crews removing the scaffolding and tarpaulins that have filled the sanctuary for so many weeks. "The stale and broken look it used to have didn't speak well to the energy and spirit of the people in the congregation."
This marks an end to nearly three years of renovations and fundraising the congregation has been part of in the 116-year-old heritage church.
"It's been a long grind. We've redone the towers on the roof, the heating system, carpeting and this renovation of the sanctuary," said Gaylord Merkel, chairman of the church's board of directors. The costs were more than $150,000, Merkel said, and most of it was raised by the congregation.
"We did get some funding from Heritage B.C. and city's heritage department but 90 per cent of the money was raised by the people who come here just for the love of this old place."
Some of the changes, Merkel said, were long overdue.
"The carpeting was installed in 1962. The paint in the sanctuary was over 60 years old."
"The members of the congregation also contributed by cooking and baking and cleaning and painting and putting in a lot of hours for this church," said Ramsey.
St. Andrew's will celebrate its new sanctuary with a special service on Sept. 22 and Ramsey said he hopes people in the community will stop to see the new look.
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