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Making St. Peter’s bloom again

Historic St. Peter’s Quamichan is the focus of a major renovation project. - William J Anderson
Historic St. Peter’s Quamichan is the focus of a major renovation project.
— image credit: William J Anderson

Fixing without lifting Cowichan’s historic St. Peter’s Quamichan Anglican Church is the aim of its congregants.

They’ll gain more money to repair their church’s foundation and make other fixes in the 150-year-old kirk during Saturday’s Saving St. Peter’s Fundraising Gala at Duncan Meadows Golf and Country Club.

A dinner, dance, and silent auction of some 80 items, will be backed by saxman Paul Wainwright and his swinging band.

Rector Deborah Rivet praised community support toward raising $300,000 for saving St. Peter’s, while preserving its pastoral grounds — full of grand old Garry oaks and a heritage cemetery — during work by David Coulson Design.

Rivet reckoned her parish has about $215,000 so far in its renovation jar.

At first, repairing St. Peter’s seemed a cinch — jack the building and install a new foundation, they were advised.

“But to jack it up and pour a new foundation would mean putting in a (construction access) road and destroying the Garry oak pasture in front of our church.”

Cranking could crack some of the church’s beloved stained-glass windows too.

“We want to be really good stewards of our property — we have over 60 species of wildflowers in our pasture.”

Enter engineers proposing a non-jack fix “and that would also save us about $200,000.”

“Dave Coulson has been a wealth of information,” she said of the local heritage contractor.

Renovations now span the organ, stained glass and floors, plus heating upgrades involving ducting and a heat pump.

Services and other activities shifted into St. Peter’s Hall in January during assessments “and we anticipate moving back into the church by late September,” said Rivet.

Meanwhile, her proud parish is accepting all donations.

“An elderly man on a limited income even gave us $50. It’s that kind of generosity that we’ve seen.”

St. Peters’ benefit bash happens at 5:30 p.m. May 31. Tickets are $100 each. Call the church 250-746-6262.

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