By: René J. Roy
PORT AUX BASQUES – It’s the last year of her three-year plan, and Reverend Jane Allen is quite pleased with the progress of the repairs to the historic St. James Anglican Church. So far things have gone mostly according to plan, with only a few surprises, said Rev. Allen. She hopes the work will be completed by July.
The surprises so far have mostly amounted to unexpected rot on some of the old wall sills, according to Fabien Organ and Walter White, two of the three men who were out working on the church on a foggy Wednesday, May 26. Repairs to fix the rot cost the men about a full day’s worth of work.
“The downspout came right into the corner and the water had nowhere to go,” said White.
Two sides of the church were restored last year, and the remaining work is being completed on the front of the building and the Eastern side.
This year’s work is not just the installation of new siding, but also removal of the original cedar shakes (shingling) that were covered by the last siding job. The men are also taking extra time to insulate and seal the walls properly, hoping to make the structure more resilient to the frequent winds.
All of the work comes at a cost, which is fully provided by donations and parishioners.
“The Auxiliary Church Women (ACW) have held a Wake-a-Thon, where they raised over $5,000 dollars,” noted Rev. Allen.
She estimated that through online auctions and raffles, as well as the Wake-a-Thon, the ACW has donated around $13,000 dollars of the $52,000 price tag for the repairs.
The church also sold gospel hymn books as a fundraiser to help alleviate costs, with assistance from Edwina Bateman.
Rev. Allen is in year two of her three-year term as Rector of St James, and despite being unwilling to admit to future plans, she does acknowledge that the furnace is likely to be the next major expense for the church.
“The furnace is getting old, and every so often we find ourselves calling for service now,” admitted Rev. Allen.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to the inside of the church. And its not my church, it’s everyones church.”
Rev. Allen also expressed her heartfelt thanks to donors who read the last story about the work on St. James Anglican, including those who live away in Nova Scotia and other provinces, and contacted her to contribute to the repair fund.