Parishioners vote to save Lamont County church

Parishioners have voted to save the 89-year-old Spaca Moskalyk Ukrainian Church located just north of Mundare in Lamont County.
Parishoners voted Saturday to preserve the Spaca Moskalyk Ukrainian Church, pledging to raise $100,000 for repair costs by October. (CBC)

Parishioners have voted to save the 89-year-old Spaca Moskalyk Ukrainian Church located just north of Mundare in Lamont County.

About 90 people attended a meeting Saturday afternoon to vote on the church’s future.

The building was originally slated to be destroyed in a controlled burn after it was determined that the structure had an unstable foundation, but public outcry to save the church delayed its destruction.

Parishioner Cliff Moroziuk said that the possibility of a controlled burn was not even brought up at the meeting held Saturday. Instead, he said, the focus was on what needed to be done to preserve the church.

"I think the fact that there was so many people out there really made the people who were against it take a second look," said Moroziuk.

In the end, two Edmonton-area companies stepped up and pledged to cover the cost of the much-needed foundation replacement.

On top of that, attendees set a fundraising goal of $100,000 to be reached by Sept. 30, 2013. That money will go towards roofing costs, window replacement, new eavestroughs and a fresh coat of paint for the church.

Moroziuk said it is hard to describe the relief he feels following today’s vote.

"I’ve had $40,000 in pledges come to me already today, and to see all the people come out who really want to see the church being preserved as a legacy to the people who are buried there."

He says the biggest challenge now will be to raise the $100,000 needed by the September deadline.

"The other challenge, of course, is to remove the historic resource designation," he added. "Once that designation is removed and we have our funds in place, we can proceed with the preservation in a much more rapid manner."

Due to a shortage of priests, the Spaca Moskalyk Ukrainian Church will not host regular mass, but will be used regularly during special events and ceremonies.

The last major event held at the church was its 100th anniversary mass, celebrated in the summer of 2010.