90-year-old church gets new look

Some of the volunteers stand by the sign in front of the church. Left-right, are Robert Olanski, Jim Voysey, Roseanne Couturier, Sadie Cox, Jan Voysey and Carey Humeniuk.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

An old church building north of High Prairie has been given a facelift.
Volunteers were busy in August painting the outside of St. Michael’s Catholic Church about 20 km north of High Prairie on Highway 749 at the junction of Highway 679 (Township Rd. 763).
“Most of us painting the church are 60-years-old-plus, as well as some young children,” project co-ordinator Carey Humeniuk says.
“We’re painting the church to keep up the building for a historical site, plus the roof was tinned in 2000.
“We are hoping we can get this marked as an historical site.”
Mass was held in the church from 1935 to the late 1950s.
Constructed in 1931, the building has been long due for an upgrade, he says.
“We wanted to paint the church years back, but nobody had time,” Humeniuk says.
“So we put the word out and got results to help paint the church.”
Work started on Aug. 17.
After painting is complete, the group also plans to clean up the inside to make it more usable.
“There is more work to be done, such as replacing a few rotten boards,” Humeniuk says.
“We will clean and fix the building until donations run out and volunteers come to an end.”
The original building was a log structure and was later boarded and painted.
People gave generously for the church and later the chandelier was purchased in 1952 by donations.
Records for the church were kept by the Starko family, now by Jean Starko.
The building was last used for mass on July 24, 1983 for the 50th anniversary of the building, Humeniuk says.
Chris Saunders and Dedria Olanski were the last couple married, on June 28, 2008.
Land for the church was donated by his uncle Frank Stocki on May 28, 1933.
Construction started March 29, 1931 after Sam Leganchuck sold a cow to pay for hewing the logs.
The permit for the site was $1.50 and the land title for the two-acre parcel was $10.13.
Humeniuk thanks volunteers Grayson Humeniuk, Robert and Anita Olanski, Raymond Olanski, Roseanne Couturier, Jim and Jan Voysey, Sadie Cox, Andie Cox, Dwayne and Donna Sawchyn, and Mary Ann Martin for painting and Adam Gibb for refreshments.
For the project, he further thanks Joe Starko for a trailer and scaffolding, Donald Cox for installing the new doors, POPS Home Hardware for donating the paint and Select Rentals for donating the lift.

Sadie Cox, 9, was one of the youngest to paint as she works by the new doors of the church.
Volunteers take a brief time out. Left-right, are Jan Voysey, Roseanne Couturier, Robert Olanski and Carey Humeniuk.
The interior of the old St. Michael’s Catholic Church north of High Prairie is getting some renovations as part of an upgrading project.

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