Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

St. Charles Parish clears space for church refurbishment

Story and photo by Paul McNabb, for the Inland Register

(From the June 16, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Parishioner Dick Amsbury shows one of several carving blocks he has made from the backs of pews being removed from St. Charles Church. (IR photo)

St. Charles Parish in Northwest Spokane is ready to jump back to the 1950s for its weekend liturgies, beginning July 2 and 3.

Those are the first Saturday and first Sunday that Masses will be said temporarily in the parish auditorium, which served as the parish’s church from the fall of 1951 until December 1960. It was then that parishioners began attending Mass in their new, architecturally unusual church building.

Although repainted and recarpeted once since then, the church has been in need of refurbishing, and that project is scheduled this summer. After the 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday, June 26, the church will be closed until late August or early September so contractors can repair and repaint the walls and the vast ceiling, and install new carpet and new pews.

Father Tom Connolly, pastor of St. Charles, said the Mass schedule will remain the same for weekends: 4 p.m. Saturdays and 8 and 10 a.m. Sundays. Weekday Masses will be said in a chapel on the second floor of the parish convent behind the church. Access to the convent will be from its entrance on the west end of the building, near the school playground.

Parish volunteers began removing pews in the back of the church two months ago, and several have been sold for $20 each. Persons interested in purchasing the 15-foot-long pews may call the parish office at 327-9573. Buyers must make arrangements for hauling the pews away.

Full-scale removal of the remaining pews will begin when the church closes, at which point volunteers also will tackle carpet removal.

Some buyers of pews want them for the wooden backs, which can be used for many building and hobby projects. Parishioners Dick and Donna Amsbury already found a great use for the wood: carving blocks for meal preparation. Eight or so blocks can be made from each pew back, depending on the block size and wood quality.

When Dick removed the veneer surface of a pew back he found the interior to be of five different woods laminated together. Cut and polished, the woods make attractive pieces. The Amsburys are anticipating making 100 blocks to sell at the church.

When parishioners saw the first wood products the first weekend of June, the blocks were an immediate hit and many were sold.

The 68 new pews and six matching chairs are being made of red oak, with wooden backs and cushioned seats.

To refurbish the church, the St. Charles campaign committee has been seeking $220,800. As of the end of May, $86,159 in pledges remained outstanding and the campaign bank account had reached $147,766. The committee is hopeful pledge payments during the summer will bring in enough to pay the contractors without the need for a loan.

If funds remain after paying for painting, carpet and pews, several other repair projects will be tackled, such as the entrance doors, glass windows, and the sound system.

Donations are still welcome. Checks may be written to St. Charles Capital Campaign and sent to 4515 N. Alberta, Spokane, 99205.

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