I was back in northern BC, running between 5 churches for 6 weeks beginning in June. Whitehorse is the only northern diocese where one can drive to all 23 missions, with no fly-in communities to worry about. Bishop Hector Vila placed me at St. Ann’s church in Watson Lake, just above the BC border.
When I arrived in Whitehorse, Bishop Vila discussed some roofing projects that Josh Grimard, the lay missionary in Telegraph Creek, and his father John, were willing to do for cost. John Grimard has a roofing company in Chilliwack, BC. The roofs in question were not in good shape. With climate change, there has been more precipitation and last year there was a huge amount of snow. The load on St. Ann’s church tore off an eave and facia. I helped Josh to put up the new cladding. I hadn’t been on an extension ladder in a while and having to nail on the left-hand side was quite a challenge.
Josh found that local supplies were limited, so he bought 1×6 and 1×4 boards for the facia, ripping the latter with a saw. We nailed them up while being eaten by mosquitoes and black flies (bad this year due to flooding). John will come up later in the summer with aluminum coils to do 3 roofs in Watson Lake (church, rectory and hall) and 2 in nearby Lower Post. John Grimard’s company has a roll-form machine that he’ll bring to custom-cut the metal sheets. Installing roofs his way hides the screws with an overlay from the next sheet, precluding the possibility of leakage. In addition, they will add snow guards to prevent the eaves from being torn off again.
A few years back, CMIC donors helped to fund the renovation of St. Ann’s rectory. Josh and retired missionary Jean-Claude Morin lent their skills to build two bedrooms and a washroom in the basement to accommodate the 2 priests who were expected. Of the 2, only Fr. Suresh remained.
The roofing project and the work that Josh and Jean-Claude Morin did is CMIC money well spent to keep these buildings secure for decades to come. Bishop Vila is lucky to have these guys, not only to save on costs but to get the work done properly. Skilled labor is not abundant up there. Five roofs will cost the diocese about $132,000. If John was not being generous, the job would be much more expensive. Thanks John. CMIC will kick in $75,000. Thanks donors.
This is Canadian money helping Canadians. CMIC defines these churches as missions only because neither the communities nor Bishop Vila have funds to spare for things like capital projects.