St. Paul’s Church will be restored. In a close vote of 174-151, the congregation voted for restoration, instead of demolition. It was the right thing to do; St Paul’s has been around for over a century. It is a Milton landmark; its church tower keeping watch over Main St for as long as many can remember.
But is this the end? The church faces an up-hill climb. First it has to present to the Halton Presbytery a financial plan on how to pay for the repairs; a total bill of possibly as much as $1.5 million. And then they have to raise the money; by no means an easy task. But there is enough willpower here to do it; most of us have fond memories of the place- I’ve said before I remember sleepovers for Girl Guides; it’s seen its share of life’s milestones. The last time I was there, was a Leona Boyd Concert; she, and a guitarist sat in chairs at the front of room- it was as if the audience settled in for story time or something. It was her first concert on the comeback trail. It’s played a big enough role in many people’s lives there is a strength of sentimentality that would fuel fundraising efforts.
174-151; a 23 vote difference. Is this a strong enough majority to back a move restore it? Or is it more reflective of an obliviously split congregation. The plan to redevelop the site, the fire, and all that it’s accompanied both has caused a lot of anger and bitterness amongst the congregation. It’s the Presbytery’s final decision- and 23 votes may not be enough to sway them towards keeping the building. And given the time this has taken to solve it; at least the last 4 years; probably longer it’s likely they’re going to end to it one way or the other. Shifting the focus inside the congregation; the close vote could also indicate the faction who want it taken down has gained strength.
I’m aware the situation at St. Paul’s has caused many to leave the congregation. Its possible preservation could be enough to lure people back to fight for it. It also indicates that last year when Ward #3 councillor Cindy Lunau urged them to re-think the move to demolish, some people listened. Whatever the reason, a Milton landmark, and a piece of the past is about to be saved. In my book when that happens, it’s something to celebrate.