New Anglican Hall in Watrous
Rev. Marie-Louise Ternier
On Sunday, June 16 members of All Saints Anglican Parish had much to celebrate as they inaugurated a new chapter in their community presence in Watrous. After seven months of major work, the church hall was officially opened and blessed by Anglican Bishop Chris Harper from Saskatoon. An impressive display of photos, articles, and documents chronicled the history of the hall and the church while a great crowd enjoyed a lavish pot luck lunch. As a token of partnership and friendship with the Anglicans, Lutheran church members gave a beautiful clock to be installed. The large cross now adorning one of the walls and blessed by Bishop Chris Harper came originally from the Anglican church in Colonsay. This cross connects the renovated facility with the past, signifying the presence of Christ and the parish’ call to ministry and outreach.
While the Anglican church building is marking its 110th year of existence this year, the hall dates from a later time and has undergone various metamorphoses. The original part initially served as the dwelling of the local parish priest and was later repurposed into a full hall when the house next door was built as the new rectory. Its shape is odd or unique, depending on one’s point of view. Some minor renovations were done in past decades, but structural work and significant upgrading had never been addressed.
This all changed this past winter. Much meticulous work was done to stabilize and level the floor, ceiling, and walls, securing them for long and trustworthy use. New windows after the pattern of the old ones were installed, as well as new doors with code locks. The kitchen underwent a complete redesign, and the new washroom is now wheelchair accessible. The welcoming and fresh space is equipped for a new season of activity for the next decades.
Financing for the renovations was provided through a substantial loan from the Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon which needs to be paid back in the coming years. Roughly 8% of the total cost was covered through a grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada.
Besides using the hall for parish meetings, educational gatherings, and fundraising projects, it now has the potential to increase its reach in the community. Already home to AA meetings and yearly art displays during the Spirit of Manitou Studio Trail, other groups are encouraged to consider it as a suitable home for their events and activities.
By far the church’s own most popular community event is the free weekly BBQ Suppers in July and August which attract a wide range of people from Watrous and area, including tourists/campers from Manitou Beach – watch for further details on this summer’s dates. Average attendance in past years has hovered around 100, filling the hall with a crowded but happy buzz of activity and socializing.
The renovated hall is now available as an attractive mid-size rental facility for various occasions, with or without kitchen use. For details and bookings, please contact/text Joyce Potts (306-946-9920) or Connie Woiden (306-946-8288).