A century-old church in Stony Plain being sold for the bargain price of $1 has found its saviour.
Hope Christian Reformed Church has accepted an offer from a local group formed with the sole intention of preserving the little building at its current location.
Russ Graff, a Stony Plain councillor who served as a pastor with the Hope Christian congregation for more than 14 years, is leading the campaign.
"It's a symbol of our past, and of the faith that people had, that gave them the strength and courage to settle this area when it was bush," said Graff during a Wednesday morning interview on Edmonton AM.
"They banded together before they had little more than shacks to live in, and built this pretty little church, and it would be a shame to lose it."
The chapel, overlooking Highway 16, comes complete with stained-glass windows, vaulted ceilings and a 50-foot-high steeple.
It may sound like the Holy Grail of real estate deals, but the chapel has fallen into a state of disrepair and members of the dwindling congregation — unable to cope with mounting operation costs — worried that demolition would be their only option if an appropriate buyer could not be found.
The chapel was put up for sale on Kijiji about a year ago, with the intention the buyer would move it to a new location, but Graff says the community didn't want the 1912 building with its towering steeple to disappear from the site.
"It's a landmark. It's kind of like a beacon on that corner for so many people," Graff said.
"They love to see it there, and they want to do what they can to keep it here."
The chapel, adjacent to a historic cemetery, has been mostly idle since the mid 1980s when a new church was built on a neighbouring property. Graff would like to see it used again for special services and weddings.
Graff is recruiting volunteers to form a non-profit that will own and manage the building as a collective. He says having historic designation for the church would provide new funding for renovations, and help the community preserve the chapel's traditional character.
"The dollar is not the problem," said Graff of the unbeatable price. "But we really need to have a group that can pull this off."