Source: Edmonton Journal

After more than 15 years of perogy sales and golf tournament fundraisers, the dream home for a Sherwood Park church parish is becoming a reality.

The 12,000-square-foot building, soon to be the home of St. Sophia’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on the eastern outskirts of Sherwood Park, hit a major milestone Wednesday morning with the mounting of its golden dome and cross.

This will be the first permanent home for the 160-family parish, having operated out of two schools and a funeral home since its inception in 2002.

“We’ve waited 15 years for this, so it’s a red-letter day without any question,” said Ken Lesniak, vice-chair of the parish council. “We’re going to finally have a home, it’s ours.”

Construction for the $3.1-million structure on the northwest corner of Range Road 224 and Township Road 530 started last fall with hopes to hold the first mass in September. With more than 500 parishioners, council chair Wally Tarnawsky said it was time for a space of their own.

“It will provide a place of spirituality for us, a place of fellowship,” he said. “We have a community-based multipurpose room that we’re building where we can offer outreach programs for youth, for senior and for various groups within Sherwood Park. That’s our hope.”

Getting the parish building off the ground was rooted in the community from the very beginning, Tarnawsky said, with members raising funds through perogy suppers and golf tournaments. So it made sense for the builders of the new church to be involved in the community as well.

Ben Tanasiuk, the project co-ordinator for contractor Krawford Construction, remembers being in elementary school when fundraising for the church started more than a decade ago.

“It’s just a real point of pride that Krawford had the opportunity to go into this project,” he said. “Throughout the company we have tons of Ukrainians, it’s pretty engrained in our culture.”

The mounting of the 3,800-pound cupola — the marquee dome and cross on the top of the church — only took about 15 minutes to get off the ground, but meant a great deal to the 20 parishioners in attendance who have been waiting more than 15 years.

“I can’t really explain it,” Tarnawsky said about what this occasion means. “Some have been with the parish right from the beginning and have been envisioning it for the last 15 years. With the capping of the dome on the building, it’s all come together.”

Many young churchgoers were in attendance with their families to watch the raising of the dome, including five-year-old Lainey Fiddler. She was baptized in St. Sophia’s when it was operating out of a school and she said she is looking forward to celebrating future milestones in the new church.

“I want to get married there,” she said with a smile.

Rendering of the completed St. Sophia Ukrainian Catholic Church at Baseline Road and Range Road 224 near Sherwood Park. The structure is expected to be open in April of 2019,
– Drawing courtesy of Concept Plus Architecture and Engineering, with construction contracting by Krawford Construction