I've been waiting to hear the fate of the former New Dominion United Church since it went up for sale a year ago. Last week the Journal Pioneer featured a front page story telling of its new purpose. The church was moved a short distance away and will be used as a family home.
Below is the article along with submitted photo - further down are two photos I took a few days ago.
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Divine intervention turns PEI church into home for family of 12
Maureen Coulter / Published Journal-Pioneer on August 25, 2016
The Able family will have a new place to call home by the end of this year as they are renovating the New Dominion United Church into a livable space. The 161-year-old church will be staying in the community as the family purchased three acres of land across the field from the old location.
Through a chance encounter at Gass's store, New Dominion United Church will soon be new home for Able family
As soon as Effie Able walked into the New Dominion United Church, she knew she was going to live there.
“I walked into the foyer and I said, ‘this is it, this is home’.”
Her intuition has proven to be bang-on, thanks to running into the right person at the right time.
New Dominion United Church, built in 1855, was put on the real estate market after three congregations in the area merged to form West River United Church in Cornwall.
Effie and her husband, Justin Able, decided to move back to P.E.I. in 2013 after living in Florida for a year where Justin was a pastor. Their kids were unhappy and missed their extended family and second family at Grace Christian School.
“They wanted to move back,” said Effie, as she gazes up at what will be her new home. “They like the wholesomeness of P.E.I.”
Effie and Justin were looking for a cost-effective home to accommodate their 10 children, who range in age from 13 to six weeks old. They also wanted something unique with a good story behind it.
Their realtor, Jeff Newson, suggested taking a look at the New Dominion United Church, and Effie jumped at the idea.
However, the family came close to missing the opportunity to purchase the building. Effie calls it “fate” that they went back a second time to look at the church with their children. That same day, they also stopped by Gass's Country Store where they learned from a church committee member that there was going to be a meeting that very evening about tearing down the 161-year-old church.
“We went back to the church and called Jeff Newson right then and said, ‘Jeff, they are going to tear it down. You need to make a phone call. We are going to buy it’.”
The family was leaving that week to do missionary work in Italy and had they not gone out that day and had they not met that committee member, they would have missed out on their dream home.
They moved the church to three acres of land across the field from its old location, keeping it in the community. Approximately 60 people showed up on Aug. 10 to watch Moveall Structures move the church.
The family is doing minor renovations to make it livable, but for the most part, they plan on leaving things untouched.
The 65-foot ceiling sanctuary will become their living room. The upstairs balcony overlooking the sanctuary will be the kitchen (the church had already converted it into a kitchen several years ago).
In the middle of the tower will be a school room with a spiral staircase leading to the top of the tower where Effie and Justin’s bedroom will be.
The basement will be turned into a boys and girls dorm with a recreational room in between.
“Our kids like to be together. They’ve always shared bedrooms. We actually tried to separate them but they all want to sleep in the same room anyway.”
Effie said they look forward to having lots of space and plan to have a little farm consisting of vegetables, chickens and a goat.
“I don’t know anything about farming so I’m hoping some Islander will have pity on me,” she laughs.
The Able family anticipates the renovations will be completed by the end of 2016.
“I hope to have it done so people in the community can come see it at Christmas,” said Effie.
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