EDMONTON- The little white church, tucked beside the Yellowhead Highway near Stony Plain, may not be leaving after all.
The church has been put on sale for a dollar, but a former pastor turned town councillor may soon be heading up a group to have the church designated as a historical landmark.
Russ Graff, who served as pastor at the Hope Church for 14 years, says the little white church is a landmark in the area.
“It’s an inspiration for people driving by; I’ve had so many people tell me that,” he says. “It’s just a beautiful setting isn’t it?”
Graff would like to see the church stay at its original location. Built in 1912, he said it served the community for 70 years before a new church was built beside it.
“It’s a landmark that really preserves a piece of our history that was built by people that came here and really had almost nothing.”
Pastor Jacob Boer says the congregation can’t afford the upkeep. The church needs extensive work to repair the neglect, not to mention the cost of a restoration. One thing is certain, the congregation does not want to see the church torn down. Not wanting to profit in a sale either, the church was listed for a dollar.
“It was decided about three years ago that we should probably look to sell it and sell it for a dollar”, says Pastor Boer. “So that it makes it affordable for someone to take it and hopefully love it like the congregation here loved it.”
Since word got out, offers have been pouring in but now, local church members may not want to part with a piece of the past.
“If I understand from the leadership, they’d like to see it stay there”, says Graff. “But they’ve had other offers to moving it off as was put out. If they decide they want that, I’m willing to work on a group that will own it on the spot and seek historical designation and the funding required to preserve it there.”
Graff says the church was offered up to other historical societies in the past, but it was turned down. He says in order to be granted historical status from the province, the church must stay in its original location.
“It’s dear to a lot of people’s hearts and they’d miss it.”
© 2016 Shaw Media