Church offers update on building assessment

Matt Gardner
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With the structural assessment of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church still ongoing, a church representative spoke to the Daily Herald on Friday to provide an update on the situation.

Since the church’s closure last autumn following the discovery of a deflection in one of the building’s decorative covers, members of the St. Paul’s congregation have attended Sunday worship at Wesley United Church.

Session clerk Norman Hill said St. Paul’s has yet to receive an engineer’s report on their building, but is expecting one in the near future.

“It’s coming in to our buildings people and they’re going to be putting something together for us to look at,” Hill said. “Then we can take it to the congregation at an annual meeting coming up.”

The meeting is expected to take place at some point in March.

Though the evaluation is ongoing, Hill said the engineers have provided St. Paul’s with some idea as to the nature of the structural problems.

“There are major support beams in the attic that were damaged,” he said. “It cracked and we have to look at supporting them.”

While the problem itself is clear, the cause of the structural issues has yet to be determined. In a previous interview with the Herald, Hill theorized that wind damage may have played a role.

Engineers conducting the assessment, however, have not been able to draw any solid conclusions.

“I would love to have been in the attic the other day when they had that strong windstorm, just to see if there’s any creaking and groaning going on up there,” Hill said.

Even when the assessment is concluded, the work of repairing the damage will have only begun.

“It’s several different options I would assume that we’re going to get (from the engineer’s report), and so we’d have to determine which one,” Hill said.

It’s coming in to our buildings people and they’re going to be putting something together for us to look at. Norman Hill

“Then of course you’ve got to look at getting a contractor to be able to handle either one of whatever choices we make.”

Regardless of the choice of contractor, the cost of repairs is likely to be significant.

“I’m thinking anything in a roof of a big building is going to be expensive,” Hill noted.

Members of the St. Paul’s congregation, he added, have already begun asking when the church will begin organizing fundraisers to cover the necessary expenditures.

Aside from repairs, the upcoming March meeting will likely touch upon the need to hire an interim minister at St. Paul’s.

In the meantime, the congregation continues to attend Sunday worship led by Rev. Tony Thompson at Wesley United Church, where the St. Paul’s contingent have become increasingly integrated into services.

“We’re continuing to worship there and we’re now … starting to participate in the worship services,” Hill said. “St. Paul’s is helping out Wesley with things like greeters and ushers and helping prepare fellowship time following the service.

“We have had a retired minister come in from St. Paul’s to do some baptism for our children, so things are going well that way there.”

See also:

Churches worship together during building assessment

Organizations: Wesley United Church

Geographic location: St. Paul

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