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Painesdale Methodist Church extends invitation

PAINESDALE The Albert Paine United Methodist Church of Painesdale will hold an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday to celebrate an on-going series of renovations to the 109 year-old building, located on Iroquois Street.

“We want to thank the people for being so supportive of us, and welcome them into our church so they can see what we’ve done, just have a fun evening, and let people know what we’ve done,” Elaine Blackburn, who with her husband Jim, are congregation members, said.

This ongoing and costly major restoration and preservation is being funded, in part, by a series of fundraisers, much appreciated grant funds, and through the generous donations of several families whose ancestors helped start and maintain the church over 100 years ago, a release stated.

“We were kind of down for a while,” Blackburn said. “We didn’t have any money; we didn’t have the spirit. Then, all of a sudden we got a grant and it seemed like everyone started to care, and people started having fundraisers.”

Serious renovations to the exterior began in 2013 with the installation of a perimeter drain field around the building, Don Heikkila, another congregational member, said. The exterior of the foundation was lined with plastic sheeting, then a drain field with drain tile was installed. With that completed, restoration work and renovations could begin on the rest of the structure, Heikkila said. Repairs to the roof, and replacement of shakes to the exterior also occurred.

Additional work to the structure has included new windows in the social hall in the basement, the construction of a wheelchair ramp into the sanctuary, and complete restoration to that part of the church. The entire building has been re-wired, equipped with new furnaces and water heaters, Heikkila said.

“It’s surprising how much effort has been put into it,” he commented.

When the mines were still in operation, Methodist churches also existed in Atlantic Mine, Baltic, Trimountain; only the Methodist Church in Painesdale has remained open, and has been in continuous operation since it was built in 1907.

The Open House will include food, fellowship, tours of the church, and music by Tom Katalin.

Admission is free and the public is welcome.