Church revival with a twist

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July 31, 2014 10:40 AM

St. Peter's Church at Stony Creek is nearly complete. - Don Whiting Photo

Everyone has probably heard about the old- fashioned church revivals with lots of singing and lots of praying. But, that was yesteryear. Today the practice that is becoming popular is the revival of old churches to put them back into service for weddings, funerals and the odd Sunday service.

St. Peter’s Church at Stony Creek is one such church that is over 100 years old and is being reborn. Located six miles north of Lloydminster, this wood shingled structure is getting a much needed face lift and shoring up to last another 100 years.

Renovations to St. Peter’s Church started a little over three weeks ago, said Miles Jurke.

With the roof leaking and the entryway rotting away, “We decided we better get at it and fix it,” said Fred Look. “We had some money, so we decided to start working on it.”

With money left over from another project, they got a good start on this renovation, as they moved the church and put a new foundation under it. They want to keep going with it and Look said, “Now we have to do all the inside of it.”

The new shingles on the walls were matched with new tin on the roof. Inside, the pews, “built back in ‘50s and ‘60s, this look is how people are remembering them.” The pews do not need updating, all they need is a good bath.

The next job on the list is to tear down all the drywall and re-do it.

“That should pretty well finish it,” said Look, then re-stain all the boards, replace the carpet, and replace the vinyl strip between the pews. The floors will get cleaned and sanded, and re-stained if necessary.

People have already been requesting to use the church for weddings and funerals, and other community functions are not far off. 

“Up until about two years ago we used to have a service here about once a month during summer,” Look said.

Things got to a point where the services had to cease, but the interest never waned. Realistically, it was only a matter of time before the restoration took place because too many people wanted it back in use to just let it fall to decay.

About the organ, Look and woman named Janice had it fixed up, but someone had gained entry and now the foot pedals do not work any longer. So that is back on the to-do list of repairs. The organ has been in place since the beginning after the church was moved from Stony Creek, and put together out of pieces they found.

“It is important this year, to finish it (renovations) this year,” said Jurke, “because it is the 100th birthday since it’s been rebuilt.”

They are just waiting on the drywall right now before the renovation can be completed. There is a little anxiety over the drywall, because harvest season will soon be upon us, which will mean less time will be available to finish with the church.

Beside the church is a cemetery with two Barr Colonists buried there. There are a few other pioneers, and places for other community members have already been spoken for. It is safe to say that our early pioneers felt a connection to the land they toiled on, and a place of worship, together with a sacred place for burial, remains an important part of the community spirit.

It’s important that we maintain these burial grounds, said Jurke, because they are part of the church’s rich history, but even more so because of the rich future that lies ahead for St. Peter’s.

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