FILE — The Rev. Canon Chris Harwood-Jones, the priest at All Saints Anglican Church in Vernon, is hoping the community will support the renovation project to the hall, which is home to numerous non-profit groups in the North Okanagan.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Church fundraiser hits high gear

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Rev. Canon Chris Harwood-Jones was willing to take a leap of faith.

When a local church decides to front a million-dollar renovation to its facilities on faith that they can fundraise to cover the costs, you know you have a meaningful story in the works.

Speaking with Rev. Canon Chris Harwood-Jones solidified that I was onto something that clearly impacted the readership in a way that spoke to the heart of the community.

The video tour also drove home the depth and scope of the work, which showed me just how serious the problem was for the church leadership.

Originally published Aug. 31, 2018.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Rev. Canon Chris Harwood-Jones was willing to take a leap of faith when faced with a $1 million-plus bill to repair extensive water damage in his church’s hall.

A design flaw in the construction of the All Saints Anglican Church Hall, built in 1998, led to years of water leakage and damage that was discovered when the church leadership decided a new paint job was in order. That discovery was made more than two years ago.

Since our last update on the construction in May, the renovation has run into several delays — not unusual in a project of this scope. What was then expected to be completed by June is now on target for October, although Harwood-Jones said he would not be surprised if that date also gets moved back.

Complicating the process has been an ongoing dispute with the insurance company over coverage and payments towards the necessary remediation work. Harwood-Jones said he’s optimistic that a solution will be found, but it has meant the church has had to fund the renovation up front. Thus, the genesis of the Leaky Roof Repair fund.

To date, the church has raised somewhere north of $400,000. The goal is $1 million. Harwood-Jones said he’s had to look beyond the congregation for fundraising given the size of the raise, but the community is responding. They just need a final push to hit their goal.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the hall to the community, given 70 per cent of the hall’s booked time is dedicated to serving charity or other non-profit groups.

“Two programs, in particular, could not operate if we did not provide the use of our hall at no cost: the Saturday Street Lunch and the Good Food Box. We host other community programs and events as well, for groups like AA, NA, Sparks, Children and Family Services, schools, Silver Star Adaptive Snow Sports, and Venture Training,” Harwood-Jones said back in May.

To donate to the Centennial Hall Repair Fundraiser: cheques can be mailed to All Saints Anglican Church, 3205-27th St., Vernon, B.C., V1T 4W8; online donations can be made at allsaintsvernon.org; and in person at the church, Tuesday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, call 250-542-3179 or follow All Saints on Facebook for updates.

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