It began with a cynical enough comment from a parishioner when discussing heating costs – those doors really have to go!
Finances are scarce everywhere to be sure. The Diocese financial report was glum, the Parish report was no different, the majority of dollars from the Bishop’s Appeal were gobbled up by structural failure at a larger church, and this little worship site, one little corner of the parish, was little different from the others – eeking by. But there were those in earshot that were less willing to just lay down – and a program began in earnest to reduce the carbon footprint at St Louis.
The Grand Knight, Council 2851 was one of them and it has all been history since then. Gathering others in the community, the Church Council, and the ladies of Saint Anne, together they began what seemed then a daunting task of fund-raising enough money to replace those doors. They needed to fit the need, something economical and more efficient without being a total structural redesign. Six months and $2500 later, the Knights of Columbus and their chosen contractor spent one blustery winter day replacing those doors. But that was the tip of the iceberg.
No longer did the doors rattle in the wind, there were no more drifts in the lobby after the storm, and there were no more teeth chattering from folks along the nave aisle, but as with all things, perception is a creature of scale.
Although Diocesan programs had provided training and materials, wrapping churches all across the state in miles of plastic in energy conservation attempts, those along the outer aisle still dawned jackets and huddles closest to the radiators – those windows had to go! And thus Phase 2 began.
From $2,500 to $12,000 the task seemed far more daunting than the first. But St. Louis is a farmer’s church with proud and determined peoples. With all hands on deck, the K of C, Church Council, and the Ladies of Saint Anne, all sort of fundraisers were performed, and family members both local and now miles from home were beseeched. St. Louis raised that $12,000 and the materials were ordered.
Befitting of the Knights of Columbus, it was Columbus Day weekend that was chosen as the first of 5 consecutive weekends our one man contractor would plan to spend removing and installing these mammoth windows with what help he might get from the Knights of Columbus membership. In the end, ten men from the Knights and the community descended upon St. Louis and by the evening of Columbus Day had installed all six windows. The contribution of manpower and expertise resulted in a generous labor reduction and added two weekends to our contractor’s life, he only needed to return part of the following two weekends for some finer touches. This left a small encumbered nest egg for church improvements.
Enter the following winter. Records showed a significant savings in heating cost, but an increase in church hall traffic also recognized further need; of the over 25 windows in the church hall, several were beyond need of repair, others sufficed but the leaks were around them, not fully from the windows themselves. Phase 3 has begun with a $10,000 estimate. Fundraising has begun with a healthy nest egg to spur it along. Stay tuned…………