Battle River Ranch Camp is one step closer to reconstructing the church that it received via donation last year.
“Last week, they came and put it on its foundation and now we’re having the steeple rebuilt,” said Harold Stephan, director of Battle River Ranch Camp. “In three weeks time there’s a crane that’s going to come out and put the steeple and the cross back on top of the church.”
The church, which was moved from Marsden, Sask., was built by community members and other contributing churches in 1948. In 2014, it was donated to Battle River Ranch Camp for a single dollar from an individual whose forefathers helped build the church and was against seeing it dismantled.
Stephan says a company located west of Edmonton donated their time and equipment to move the building to the ranch after finding out about the project.
Stephan adds that he’s hopeful the church will reopen by the fall, although he relies on donations to complete each step along the reconstruction process, which makes timelines murky.
“We’ve already got a plumbing company looking at putting in the plumbing and the heating system and everything. We’re doing everything on faith,” he said. “We got no debt out here, and we want to keep it that way. As people provide and donate to the ranch and help us to make it happen, we put it towards (the church) and it gets completed.”
The church ties in nicely with the ranch’s camp, which helps young people develop a relationship with Christ. Many of the people that attend the camp come with their share of baggage that often includes run-ins with the law. However, Stephan stresses that the camp is not a recovery centre; rather, it’s a charitable association that helps young men and women discover and develop trades skills and obtain a job or apprenticeship.
“Every one of us is created to do something,” Stephan said. “We each have a gift and if someone would help us, like our parents and family and neighbours and so on, to find what gifts we’ve got and then move us into a career with that gift, the productivity going to work in the morning ... is a whole new ballgame.”
While the church will be on Battle River Ranch Camp property, Stephan says it will serve as a community church.
He says he hopes the church is around for generations to come to provide the same enlightenment it has given to previous generations.
“The first wedding was held in the church in 1948,” he said.
“Then in 1950, they paid off the mortgage and the church has been a part of this community ever since - married and buried and baptized more people than you can shake the stick at.”