Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 3, 2003
Art pays for restoration work
Sacred Heart begins to repair and refurbish
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
The sale of three limited edition native art pieces by former Edmonton artist Rob Glenesk, along with some private donations, helped fetch about $10,000 towards modernization improvements to Sacred Heart Church, says Oblate Father Jim Holland.
The fundraiser, held at the parish Oct. 23, was one of several events planned to provide the funds needed to renovate the inner city church's basement and to replace the crumbling area between the parish and the rectory.
"We are relocating the washrooms away from the kitchen. It hasn't been renovated in maybe 60 years," Holland said. "We had an architect come in and set a price for what we need to do. The high-end estimate is $75,000 for both projects. It does include a wheel chair elevator to replace the ramp, improving access."
The slope of the ground between the church and the rectory has sunk and now tilts significantly toward the church. In the event of a serious rainstorm, the water naturally flows and pools toward the church because the paved surface around a manhole drain has eroded.
"My view of church isn't this building. My view of church is the community," Holland said.
"It's one of the reasons we have invited the community to help us with this renovation. The building is where we meet. We have different groups who use this hall. We have three groups of AA a week. Soon we will have a group from the Congo for a Pentecostal service in the basement. The Kokopelli Choir rehearses here, gives concerts here, and they come from many different religions."
Holland said he will strive to raise funds for the project by hosting similar community events. He also plans to hold a casino near the end of the year which, he says, might be to the chagrin of some people.
"If we could do away with gambling by not taking the funds, I would be 100 per cent behind it. But they will still exist," he said.
"I console people who are struggling with alcohol, struggling with gambling - the whole thing. In reality, we should be given more money than we are getting."
Holland believes the revenue gained from a single casino could virtually pay for the entire project.
He is also floating out an idea called Friends of Sacred Heart, intended to garner donations from some former community and church members who have found financial success.
"My concept of what church is really like is when Church first came to the West. The church was built and the community was around it. I think we have to go back to that," Holland said.
He also has his sights set on the church's 100th anniversary in 2013 as a way of drawing interest to his modernization proposal.