You could call the upcoming work at St. Paul Lutheran Church a sort of barn raising. The downtown church will get a makeover thanks to the collective efforts of the community.
Congregation Kol Ami, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, other Lutheran Churches and Alcoholics Anonymous groups are joining forces to make improvements to the sanctuary building originally built in 1949. A new roof, air conditioning and heating, a ramp to make the building accessible to people with disabilities, new landscaping and a fresh coat of paint are among the planned projects. The church has already removed trees that were encroaching on the sidewalk, building foundation and roof.
“So many people are coming together,” said Geri Hiller, lay minister at St. Paul.
The church is hosting two upcoming work days: one on Saturday, Aug. 24, to prepare for painting and another Saturday, Sept. 7, to paint. They’re open to whoever wants to help. Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle will provide lunch both days for volunteers.
The weekend of Sept. 7 happens to be when Lutherans around the United States will volunteer their time and talents in their communities.
Hiller is impressed by willingness of different faith groups to work together. Then again, they do so every winter at Winter Hospital Overflow shelters.
During the cold months, St. Paul hosts a shelter for homeless men, which is staffed by volunteers from faith communities across Clark County. Due to a recent fire at Share House, the men’s shelter a few blocks away, the church is currently hosting displaced shelter residents.
Hiller said St. Paul applied for money from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund to keep its shelter open year-round. Some improvements are planned for that space, including adding another shower and bathroom and replacing windows.