Drawing showing refurbishment plans for the A-frame church.

Facelift from the faithful

The Port McNeill church named for the patron saint of loggers in Port McNeill is about to undergo some major changes.

The Port McNeill church named for the patron saint of loggers in Port McNeill is about to undergo some major changes.

“The A-frame (St. John Gualbert’s) church has been around since 1964 and it’s a historical and religious edifice, but it’s time she got a face lift,” said Craig Murray, who’s one of the people leading the charge to raise funds to transform the church, better known as the place to find the community garden and the second hand bookstore, rather than as a place of worship.

The denomination of the church is Anglican United, but that hasn’t always been the case, said Murray.

“It used to be Catholic and other denominations have been in there — it’s been used a lot by different denominations over the years,” he said.

“A lot of people on the North Island have ties to that church because they were married there, they were baptized there, funerals were there — there are all kinds of reasons people want to see this church retained.”

Despite the history and memories associated with the church, it now hosts a small number of devotees every Sunday.

“There are about a dozen in the congregation,” said Murray.

“The reason we’re doing all the work and getting a new minister is to show that we’re alive and well and to grow the congregation.”

Murray said improvements will include a new roof, upgraded breezeway, a new meeting room and a paint job.

“There will be new electrics, new telecommunications stuff, upgrades to the inside to get it up to modern day standards,” Murray said.

“Some labour is volunteer, other work is contracted out, but we’re trying to bring it back to where it should be.”

The makeover also includes a novel roof with no steeple, but instead features crosses built into the shakes on both sides.

The cost to do the repairs is estimated to be in the $120,000 range.

“The majority of the money is in place … but as much as we can, we’d like to fundraise,” said Murray, who added there are a couple of planned fundraisers.

One is asking folks to buy bundles of shakes for $35 or a square of shakes for $135.

“For the Raise the Roof fundraiser, they can purchase any one of the many needed upgrades such as carpet, a church bell, loft stairs, interior decorating and more for the roof.

“Everybody I’ve approached has really come to the plate on that one,” said Murray.

There’s also a musical fundraiser next week at the Gateway Theatre in Port McNeill  featuring Murray’s daughter, Georgia Murray, who was recently seen on the CBC’s Cover Me Canada.

Georgia will be accompanied by two other women, one the violin player who accompanied Georgia on the television show, and the other is one is a woman Georgia been singing with since they were teens.

The concert takes place April 14 at 8 p.m., but there is a 4 p.m. matinee for families with younger children.

“It’s gonna be a helluva night of music, but I might be a bit biased,” said Murray.

Tickets are at the pool in Port Hardy and at Guido’s, and in Port Mcneill at The Shed, Mugz, the Flower Shoppe and at the high school from the dry grads, many of whom will be serving mocktails at the show to raise money for the dry grad.

The work on the church is expected to be completed by summer’s end.

For donations, the purchase of shakes for the roof or other church related infomation, please call Deborah or Craig Murray at 250-956-3297 or Chris or Karen Stewart at 250-956-2912.

XXXXXX

A (very brief) history of St. John Gualbert’s church

Mrs. Jenny Betts and her husband Wallace were founders of the church in 1946 when it was held at the community hall where Mr. Betts conducted bible study for the adults and Mrs. Betts held Sunday School.

The church was a community church with no firm denominational direction.

It wasn’t until the Cominco Mining Company came to Port McNeill in 1961 that discussion was held to build a church building.

The people of Cominco, led by manager Howard Barker, felt every community should have a church. United Church Rev. Robert Burrows — who never lived in Port McNeill, but ministered in Alert Bay — encouraged the community to build a build a church and fundraising began.

The church was completed in the fall of 1963.  The first service was held on Nov. 22, 1963.  In a scenario familiar to all North Islanders, the power went out so the service was conducted by candlelight, as was the dinner which followed.

The church became known as the Anglican/United Fellowship in 1972 and was  renamed St. John Gualbert in the 1980’s.

Under the ministry of Clare Holmes in the late 60’s and early 70’s there was much ecumenicalism. Holmes (United Church), Rev. Marlowe Anderson (Anglican) and Father Andre Dion (Roman Catholic) worked together as they visited and ministered to their respective communities involving the mutual use of the Anglican United Fellowship building.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Loggers Golf Tournament returns to the links at Seven Hills Golf and Country Club

The North Island Logger’s Golf Tournament has been running for over 30 years.

Port McNeill Kids in Motion gets 300 bucks from council for swimming time at outdoor pool

Port McNeill Kids in Motion are a registered non-profit society,

Tyson’s Thoughts: Flag raising ceremony a great start to pride festivities

It was beautiful to see a group of people celebrate who they truly are and not be afraid to do so.

Blue Sox dominate Sneak Attack at Fathers Day Classic

Blue Sox got out to an early lead and kept building on it with strong hitting and quality fielding.

North Island Rising: Minority Rules – Women & Politics

Male politicians continue to out number female politicians in the North Island.

Raptors announcer credited with calming massive crowd after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Sexting teens at risk of harms including depression, substance use: study

Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana were also found to be associated with sexting

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

Mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of B.C. inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused B.C. cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Most Read