Renovations ongoing at First Baptist Church


SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG First Baptist Church1 First Baptist Church2By Ron Giofu


The first wave of renovations are complete at First Baptist Church with church parishioners and officials making plans for the second wave.

Abi Afolabi, wife of Pastor Olaniyi Afolabi, said the exterior drainage work of the George St. church has been completed with the bulk of that coming last year. Engineering work took place with the actual work seeing a six-inch drainage pipe circle the historic church with catch basins installed to help drain water off the lands and not into neighbouring properties.

“The workers that were here, they were blessed by the Lord,” commented Deacon Terry Sims.

Afolabi said drainage was a major factor plaguing the church as the crawlspace underneath would often flood with original timbers from the church’s 1849 erection being destroyed. However, she said what could be saved was saved of the original material.

She estimated the drainage work to cost $20,000, which was funded by the small church community without the aid of any grant funding.

Those repairs allowed the building to re-open with regular church services happening there since.

“After that was done, we are about to fix the interior,” she said. “We couldn’t do the interior if we didn’t fix the source of the problem which was the flooding.”

An interior wall was repaired with exposures covered with plexiglass to show original construction but much work needs to be done. Flooring in the main church, the historic portion of the building, needs to be finished with an addition of the rear building also needing repair. The vestibule also needs “quite a bit of work,” added Afolabi.

They estimate it will cost over $100,000 to repair what needs to be done.

“We’re trusting God to meet our needs,” said Afolabi.

While the church community is “not to proud to ask for donations,” they are also not opposed to fundraising. They hope to put on a number of events, including fundraising dinners, in the new year. T-shirt and rug sales could also occur.

First Baptist Church is also open to people providing in-kind services such as electrical or plumbing work.

They will hold their anniversary service Dec. 8 and it is open to the public. The service begins at 3:30 p.m.

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