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Saturday , 5 December 2020
Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Bonnyville.

Old Bonnyville church sees fresh renovations

There’s new spirit in a long-standing Bonnyville church.

Saints Peter and Paul Parish on 51 Avenue has gone through renovations over the course of the summer with a fresh exterior look.

The church was built in 1944 about six miles east of Bonnyville, said secretary-treasurer Stefania Zuk, and was moved to town in 1950.

But it’s been a long-time coming for the domed artifact.

“Our church is the oldest in Bonnyville and we wanted to preserve it. It’s really nice now,” said Zuk.

Zuk and her family looked around for options in trying to keep the work to a low cost, but were met at some points with the question, why bother?

“There was a few guys that could have helped. And they said, burn it, burn it. Well, you know what, they destroyed the elevator in Bonnyville, they destroyed this and that. And after they said, ‘Oh we should have kept it.’ Because you know what, our young ones wouldn’t even know what an elevator looks like.”

Saints Peter and Paul Parish before renovations. Image: Orthodox Canada.

With new windows, shingles, boards, and a fresh coat of paint, the outside of the building now has a baby blue look, as opposed to the aged white siding.

The next step will come in the spring to replace the flooring which was leaking.

“We kind of ran out of money. And it’s in the wintertime now, so they wouldn’t be able to do anything anymore,” said Zuk.

“But we are looking for some more donations if we can get to put in a new floor to put everything back in place.”

Zuk is the primary caretaker for the parish, which has seen a declining congregation over the years.

Occasionally, there would be services at the church before COVID began, but they are growing few and far between.

“We couldn’t have any service this spring. We’ll usually have service and then we go with our tradition where we have service in May…we go to the cemetery. Most of them that belong to the church are buried. But this year we couldn’t do it because of the disease,” said Zu.

“At one time, our church for Easter’s and that–it was full. But the old folks died and the young ones don’t want to attend church, or they go somewhere else. But we still want it to preserve it, even if we have to have service twice a year.”

This was the first stretch of renovations at the church since 1974.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.