Walking through what remains and thankfully remembering


The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. Thankfully.

As we take stock after our February fire, let’s have a look at what remains, as insurance company contractors examined, measured and prepare their estimates for Phase 2 work.

In the emergency clean-up phase, also known as Phase 1, the work included removing burnt and smoke-damaged walls and asbestos tiles. Walls were removed back to the studs, and studs treated with a protectant.

Let’s look at what the insurance company bidders saw.

Here’s a space many of us know so well. Going in the Worsley Street door, here is the staircase that goes up to the Christian Education wing. The wall on the left is the exterior wall of the original building.

You can see the door on the left that opens into the CE wing area. Straight behind that door is the access to the organ, and to the right, a sanctuary door.

Turning into the CE wing, there are no walls, only wide open spaces, punctuated by studs.

Here’s what was part of the minister’s office, the corner that faces Worsley Street and City Hall.

Here’s a photo of John Struve, as he points out an organ pipe. He’s located in what was the main church office. You can see the open space behind him. The organ cleaning is the final piece of the Phase 1 work and is the subject of another blog.

The choir room is wide open, with no closet and no music storage. The space filled with so many memories of making music feels so barren and silent.

Nearby, is the space that was the nursery and washroom area on the parking lot side.

Staying on that side of the building, here’s a sanctuary door, often used by half the choir. It is incredibly charred but intact.

Going downstairs to the area where the library and the kitchen were, we see these spaces and memories remind us of people, traditions and activities through the decades.

Going down the stairs, here’s the space that was the library.

It is filled with braces and supports to reinforce the floor above. Wood supporting the choir room floor was charred, as shown in this next photo.

Looking to the left, we see the skeleton of the area that was the Sunday School room.

On the other side of the wall is the hallway between the addition and the area that houses the bellows of the organ, the furnace, the kitchen and the gathering hall. This photo looks towards the door into the Sunday School room.

To the left is the kitchen, where volunteers made soup for Soup Sundays, main courses for Burn’s dinners, and prepared and served food for our overnight guests as we began Barrie Out of the Cold more than 25 years ago. This shot looks towards the opening through which coffee, tea and refreshments were served after worship.

Here’s a view of the kitchen wall and church foundation.

And the gathering hall, where we laughed and learned, shared and served others.

The women’s and men’s bathrooms on the Owen Street side, like the entrance area, are largely untouched. The sanctuary, too, is intact, although extension cords with lights can be seen. They provide extra light for specialists cleaning the organ.

Wrapping up our walkthrough, we go out the sanctuary door and see this view from the landing, looking down the staircase to the Worsley Street entrance. Notice the absence of the false ceiling, and see the height and a small stained-glass window.