Photo Du JourWindsor

Turning Your Back On Your Roots…

As any regular readers here will know, no one gets a free pass, least of all churches. 😉

However, there was an article in the Windsor Star last week, that really got me fired up. It sickens me the way groups and businesses turn their back on their roots and on the core of the City that has housed them for the last eight decades.

But in a City where sprawl, big box houses and big box retail are looked at in a positive light, it only seems fitting that sprawl churches are the way to go…

After 80 years, Olga and Vladimir parish to move

Rita Poliakov, The Windsor Star
Published: Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In 1925, the community of Sts. Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic Church was first blessed. In 1926, the basement of the church was built. And now, in 2008, the congregation will say goodbye to more than 80 years of history and move into a new church.

“Our present church is (around) 80 years old,” said Glenn Kehoe, chairman of the building committee. “The facility is quite old, the repairs are extensive…. Rather than do a retrofit on the building, we figured it was time to move.”

The church is one of only two Ukrainian churches in Windsor
. It currently stands near Langlois Avenue and Shepherd Street East. The old church has been sold and will be torn down and the site redeveloped for housing. (A correction ran a few days later:

CHURCH NOT SOLD

A story on page A2 Wednesday should have said that the Sts. Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic Church was not yet sold.)

The congregation’s new church, which will be in Southwood Lakes at Howard Avenue and Lake Trail Drive and will cost around $5 million, has been planned for the past five years. Construction started last week and the building is expected to be completed by next Christmas.

“We’ve owned the land for 40 years, just the need wasn’t there,” Kehoe said. “We bought it for future consideration, now our future is here. Now it’s time to build a new church. The majority of people live out in (the new) area. It’s convenient.”

Kehoe, whose wife is Ukrainian, has been coming to the church for about 32 years.

“I was married in the church,” he said, surveying the yellow cranes that have taken over the construction area. “It’s very exciting. When you look around, a lot of churches are closing. This is very encouraging.”

Leisha Nazarewich, the chair of church council, has been a member of the church since the 1950s.

“As soon as my parents moved to Windsor (from Ukraine), we were immediately attending the church. I had my first communion in the church, I saw my cousin get married in the church, I remember the dinners and banquets … the St. Nicholas pageants that took place, those kinds of things.”

Nazarewich hopes that the new building will lead to an expansion of the church’s current programs.

“I’m very excited about it, I’m looking forward to it. I hope that we will be able to build the new community and expand programs. I’d like to see a Ukrainian school, Ukrainian child programs expanded and built up there.”

While some members of the church are hesitant to move, Nazarewich has high hopes.

“I know the others will become excited about it as soon as it’s completed. It’s new. Newness brings with it its own invigoration. It’s a beautiful site. It will provide space for our people, it’s going to be friendly to the older generation and the newer generation,” she said.

There are about 300 families in the congregation. Rev. Eugene Halitsky, a pastor at the church, agrees, but acknowledges that some may find it hard to let go.

“There is an attachment to that. Many can say, ‘We got married there.’ But they know we will have to have a vision (and) look ahead. To fix the building will require (around) $500,000. This building will not be able to serve us. The building has served its purpose for 80 years.”

In an attempt to preserve history and save money, the congregation will be bringing the icons and pews from the old church to the new one.

© The Windsor Star 2008

The Church started out by building the basement of the first in 1926, and holding services there until the funds could be raised to build the church above. Those funds were raised and the Church above was built in 1937.

Now, Langlois and Shepherd doesn’t cut it, so it’s off to Southwood Lakes.

As one of only a few domed Orthodox Churches in the city, it would be a big loss to the architectural makeup of the City if this church met the wrecking ball.

This is what we’ve become. Old is crap. New is better. Throw it away.

If anyone reading this is a member of the church, and would like to give me a tour and show me what repairs need to be done to the building that can’t be fixed with $5 million, please leave a comment or send me an email.

I’d be happy to see where a new $5 million building is a better choice than repairing your history…

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