If you drive up to Selkirk College Rosemont Campus, maybe you noticed a little change in landscape recently. Where a modest Ascension Lutheran building once sat is now an empty lot.
Did yet another church bite the dust in our town? Not so!
Last year a decision was made to vacate the failing structure. After a Thanksgiving service in October, the congregation moved to Rosemont Elementary School. With a hospitable principal Kathy Speirs and Rosemont school staff to welcome them, Ascension Lutheran members have grown flexible and creative.
Two amazing things happened to Ascension people. First, demolition costs to haul away building waste are based on sorting rubble or not. A handful of members took on the salvage task. It started out small, removing some good lumber and pipes. But in the end, some 75 per cent of the building was salvaged. Very little went to landfill. Actual demolition costs were $3,900 — less than 20 per cent of original estimates. And, selling bits and pieces resulted in a net gain. Even giving away material saved cartage. Plus, some generous businesses decreased billings, also aiding cost-savings efforts.
So, Ascension Lutheran people have been grateful for good stewardship of an old building and for all who worked so hard to honour the environment.
Then, a second vibrant result has happened to this faith community. For over five years, up to 50 people from Rosemont have enjoyed monthly free dinners in the old church building and now the school. But what about free nutritional cooking classes or shared-learning about cooking more with less? So, a new kitchen and gathering space opens new possibilities for service to the community. A key piece in a new church-structure includes a community kitchen.
Also, the new church building is designed with laundry and shower facilities, services intended to support those in need.
Ascension Lutheran people are delighted and feel fortunate, having taken down their building while continuing programs offered at Rosemont school and in members’ homes. The people have appreciated community support as they move from being “homeless” to offering more and improved support to the people of Rosemont.
It also goes to show that a church is not only the steeple but also the people.