Pandemic provides opportunity for renewal

A small bell tower and sloped roof of a church.
St. James, Caledon East’s roof and bell tower after renovations.
 on April 1, 2021

Repairs give parish a boost

For a couple of decades, the metal roof of St. James, Caledon East (built in 1901) had been a source of embarrassment. It was not leaking, but the black paint had failed and the streaky metal roof gave the church an air of neglect and shabbiness.

The parish had set aside some funds over the years, but dealing with the roof and other related issues finally came to the top of the list in 2018, when the parish found a specialized contractor, received a firm price and embarked on a capital campaign to raise the remaining funds. Thanks to the efforts of many generous donors, including former parishioners, the work began in 2019.

Restoration Guys, a family-owned and operated local business, was able to work as soon as the first lockdown was lifted in May 2020. While the church was closed, equipment could be left on-site, increasing efficiency. The roof and bell tower were finished in the fall of 2020, with subsequent work to sand and paint the wooden soffits and replace all the exterior storm windows still to be done. All work was complete by year’s end.

Donors of gifts of over $100 were thanked with a note and a stained- glass cross suncatcher, handcrafted from remnants of original glass removed from the church bell tower many years ago. Parishioner Allan Lawrie donated his time and extra materials to make the highly prized crosses. Treasurer Todd Hillhouse provided the project management and secured a grant of $12,500 from the Town of Caledon toward the restoration costs of this historically significant community resource. The Rev. Chris Dow and churchwardens David Finch and Claire Olorenshaw were involved in every step.

The crisp, clean exterior of the church gives the parish a real boost during this difficult time. Perhaps equally important, passers-by notice the change and comment that the church looks cared for once again. As a final touch, LED lighting was installed in the restored bell tower. The resulting glow emanating from the 120-year-old tower embodies the love this parish has for its community – evidenced in its tag line, St. James Church “In the Heart of the Village.”


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