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Iconic St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church requires half-a-million dollars in repairs

THUNDER BAY -- A local church needs $550,000 worth of help over the next couple years. The iconic stone St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church has stood at the corner of Brodie Street and Donald Street for more than a century.
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(Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com)

THUNDER BAY -- A local church needs $550,000 worth of help over the next couple years.

The iconic stone St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church has stood at the corner of Brodie Street and Donald Street for more than a century. Last summer panels from its sanctuary roof fell to the floor, which moved the congregation out until the $200,000 worth of work was completed at the end of October.

About $70,000 of that was needed for extensive scaffolding. The 100-year-old pews couldn't be moved so workers had to build the scaffolding around them to get to the ceiling. The work that was done was great though and ahead of schedule, which church-goers eager to get back into St. Andrew's were thankful for.

"There was a high energy to put it mildly," Reverend Joyce Yanishewski said of the Oct.26 service, the first since renovations ended.

But lighting, its sandstone steps, wiring, kitchen and more roof work needs to be done.

"When you're 105-years-old you need some love," she said.

That love, when the already completed work is factored in, is around $750,000.

"It's not something we can do alone," Yanishewski said.

The church is hoping to raise the money over the next two years and then see renovations completed over the next seven.

The congregation and community have already pitched in but Coun. Larry Hebert, the church's clerk, said there's no government funding available for the heritage building and Presbyterian church rules prohibits the use of international funds or money raised by lottery or gambling. He and Yanishewski said while the church is their spiritual home, it's also an important heritage building for the whole community.

City council recently reluctantly allowed for Trinity United Church to demolish its manse. Hebert said tighter budgets and dwindling attendance have made it difficult for local churches to maintain what they have.

"Where we can we've got to save these buildings," he said.