The smell of sewage alerted Darlene and
Ernie Borowski that something was wrong after they opened the Headingley United Church’s door the evening of Oct. 9.
Ernie had been inside the church that afternoon to check dates on fire extinguishers. While there, he’d heard a pump running. That sound stayed in his mind while he and his wife were visiting a friend in Winnipeg.
Just to set his mind at ease, he decided to make a detour on the way home and stop in at the church again. That’s when the Borowskis discovered much of the church’s basement was awash in sewage back-up after three check valves failed.
Rev. Joanne Kury, who was recently installed as church minister at Headingley United, said Ernie’s decision to return to the church prevented a much greater disaster.
"He was able to get a crew in there right away," said Kury.
However, because of the risk of contamination, all the drywall, flooring and kitchen cabinets had to be removed, along with all other equipment and supplies located in the basement.
"Everything had to come out of the basement," Kury said.
Among the supplies were costumes and props belonging to the United Church Players, which are being sold off soon. Luckily, the costumes weren’t affected, and the sale proceeded on Oct. 18 and 19.
The church’s members are getting ready for their annual fall supper on Nov. 3, which involves using the church’s kitchen. Kury said, instead of cancelling the event, quick-thinking members booked the Headingley Community Centre, so the supper’s still on.
While the full extent of the damage and the repairs needed haven’t been determined yet, Kury said the church’s main floor can be used, and the regular Sunday service was held on Oct. 13.
Appropriately, this was also the church’s Thanksgiving service.
Kury’s amazed by congregation members’ willingness to volunteer and help do whatever is needed.
"People have been tremendous," she said.
Although no fundraising events are planned right now, Kury said she knows many people will step up to help when the time comes.
As of Oct. 15, there were still tickets left for the 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. fall supper sittings on Nov. 3. Tickets are available by calling Shan at 204-895-9147.