For over sixty years, the beautiful Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary has been the heart and soul of North Surrey’s Ukrainian community and an architectural gift to Whalley’s cultural heritage. Generations of residents and visitors have admired and loved the stunning white octagonal dome, stained glass, bell towers, and colourful gardens of this Canadian Heritage Site. Gathered to feast on traditional Ukrainian foods and share in the rich Ukrainian culture.
Today, the congregation struggles to save its famous dome, and perhaps the church itself. Unbeknownst to them, years of rainwater had seeped through the dome into the wooden support structure. The internal crossbeam supporting the 700 pound metal and crystal chandelier hanging inside the dome had rotted down to a mere 24 inches.
“It was a miracle we discovered the issue before anyone or anything was hurt,” says Parish President, Katherine Miske. “I looked up during Mass a month before Christmas and noticed the chandelier seemed to have dropped slightly. We had the chandelier taken down immediately and professionals in to assess the damage, and it is profound.
They will need to raise $120,000.00 to complete the repairs to the roof and chandelier. Even though candles and illumination is a significant part of the Eastern religious tradition, the chandelier will not be re-hung until the roof is repaired. Their greatest concern is that the opened roof will create more damage by water ingress before repairs are done. Fundraising plans are underway.
“We are completely self-supporting and mortgaging is not an option. We will work through this challenge as we always have, with determination and faith, and hopefully a miracle or two.”