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Fresh peak at God's house

Aug 25 2012

First Metropolitan United Church is as old as Victoria at 150 years, and plans are for the venerable house of worship to be part of the cityscape for years to come.

Case in point is the current project to replace the church's sprawling roof. The six-week effort is due for completion by Labour Day.

Rev. Allan Saunders said there has been widespread community backing for the $540,000 roof replacement, which is contracted to Kinetic Construction and Flynn Canada.

"We were especially pleased that both the city and the province heritage organizations were supportive of it," he said.

Victoria has indicated it will give a heritage grant of $52,000, while the province has pledge $15,000. First Metropolitan's own foundation provided $50,000.

A total of $340,000 - representing more than 60 per cent of the needed funds - has been collected so far, Saunders said. In-kind gifts have come from organizations and businesses including Pacific Opera Victoria, Amica House and the Market on Yates.

The project includes seismic improvements and an update to the sanctuary heating system that is expected to save between $15,000 and $20,000 a year. The roof has been replaced before, Saunders said, but a metal-shingle product will be used this time.

"It has a 50-year guarantee, but actually is expected to last far longer."

Saunders said the church has a long tradition of offering community programs and helping people in need. One of the First Metropolitan's initiatives, the Open Door, was part of the consolidation of agencies that became Our Place.

"We still have a close association with that, as well as the outreach-type ministry we do right within the church," Saunders said.

The church also houses the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria and is often used by community groups.

For information on donating, call 250-388-5188 or go to firstmetvictoria.com/4251.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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