In 2010, First Baptist Church, Elliot Lake dreamed of a major renovation to their existing church structure to add office space, meeting rooms, a library and a new foyer. The cost was prohibitive, but the church refused to abandon the possibility. After weighing their options, Elliot Lake decided to self-build, without the help of an outside contractor. It became a massive undertaking for the members of their church, but one that bonded them closer together and connected them to neighbours in new ways.
As John Rowe, Chair of the Deacons’ Board relates:
“First, we secured the services of an architect and local engineer at a reasonable rate. Then, countless volunteer hours were spent by church members and adherents on the project. Our architect estimated that $150,000 was saved by the volunteer labour. This labour was almost totally accomplished by those 65 years and older. One of the roofers was over 80. Five men over 70, using wheelbarrows, wheeled 3.5 truckloads of cement for the floor in four hours. They slept well that night.
After the building was closed in, the cement work, electrical, plumbing and dry walling were contracted out. The contractors appreciated working on the job because they were included in a morning coffee break, a hot meal at noon and an afternoon coffee break with the rest of the volunteers. These breaks and meals were provided five days a week by various women of the church for nearly 10 months during the building project.”
Last month, alongside local community officials and representatives from seven other congregations, CBOQ’s Tim McCoy dedicated the new addition, and indeed the whole church and congregation to the service of God. He blessed them, saying, “May Elliot Lake First Baptist Church be a witness and testimony of Christ’s love and salvation in the community.” Congratulations to FBC Elliot Lake for their creativity, dedication and resourcefulness in seeing this project through to completion.
Looking back on this project, John Rowe avers: “Don’t let a lack of finances inhibit your dreams as a church. If you follow God’s lead, he will provide what you need to accomplish his work.”