Fundraising by selling pews from a historic church is leading the way for a makeover of the red-roofed landmark.
St Andrew’s United Church in Rossland announced this week that it is selling dozens of wooden benches from the 1950s ahead of a $344,000 renovation project.
The iconic red-roofed church sits on the corner of Queen Street and 1st Avenue in Rossland, though it hasn’t solely been a place of worship since Seven Summits Centre for Learning (7S) moved in seven years ago and repurposed the heritage building.
Read more: Cooking in Lower Columbia community kitchens
Read more: The latest on COVID-19
That’s why the school is first in line to reserve a pair of church pews, they want to retain a little piece of local history within the four walls.
The remainder will soon be going on sale to the general public.
“We’re proud of our local history and we’re glad to be able to offer our remaining church pews to people who might cherish them the most,” says Brenda Hooper, chair of the project management committee.
“The sale marks the first step towards the creation of a contemporary multi-use space that can be enjoyed by the whole of Rossland as well as 7S students and the church.”
The pews likely came from Ontario circa 1954 and marked the completion of the last major renovation.
Plain in design, project chiefs say they lend themselves well to being upcycled and used as furniture in the garden or home.
A third of the 80 oak and oak veneer benches have already been spoken for by local residents, cafes, organizations and businesses.
The rest are being reserved on a ‘first come, first served’ basis to anyone who is prepared to unscrew, move and transport their little piece of Rossland history to give it a new lease on life.
Anyone interested is asked to e-mail Brenda Hooper at Brenda.Hooper@ubc.ca.
Staggered collections, which adhere to social distancing measures, will be organized once the start dates for construction have been confirmed.
Details for collection times and e-transfer payments will be directly communicated to the successful bidders.
Removing the pews will make way for more flexible seating in the form of stack-able chairs which organizers say can be rearranged for concerts, community events, and 7S classes.
Once the pews are out, the slanted raked floor in the main part of the church known as the sanctuary, will be leveled and the wooden foundations upgraded as part of a restoration project funded by the Built Heritage Grant program of Columbia Basin Trust.
The building’s heritage features, storage and washrooms will also be improved as part of the job, which includes 7S classroom expansion.
Besides students breathing new life into the space, leaders at 7S have also been facilitating the building’s transition into a social hub and lifeline by managing its rental spaces when the congregation and youth aren’t gathering.
In a series of recent ‘firsts’, to demonstrate the scale of future potential, the church has been host to Blizzardfest music events and volunteers from the Community Kitchen project have commandeered the commercial kitchen to tackle local food poverty amidst COVID restrictions.