ARICHAT: A group established to revive a former Anglican church has big plans.

The Friends of St. John’s Arichat Society purchased the 122-year-old church this past summer after it was closed in 2014 by the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI.

Society director Mitch David explained that over the past four years, the group held a “significant” number of meetings to outline priorities.

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“We determined that the basement needed a full clean-up free from mould and damage,” David responded via e-mail. “The basement had been sealed off for approximately four or five years, so therefore, this was first on the list of several items.”

Last week, Mill Creek Environmental Services from Sydney conducted remediation work in the basement. David expected it would take a week to gut and spray the entire area with an environmentally-friendly, anti-microbial, mould-resistant product.

Other than removing mould from the basement, the society is getting estimates for a new roof, and has plans to paint, clean the upstairs and fix the stained-glass windows, according to David.

In addition to repairs, David said fundraising was another priority identified by the society.

“Though we have done small fundraisers in the last four years, we now have to diversify the way we fundraise,” David said. “We’ve requested funding through the municipality of Richmond and now will be doing the same with the province.”

As part of this fundraising effort, David said the society is looking at hosting more events like concerts, fundraisers, tours, and meetings, in the short-term. Over the long-term, David said the society is considering renting the building for weddings, reunions, gatherings, bake sales, and cultural events.

On September 9 and 10, the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia’s Places of Worship Committee coordinated a “Doors Open” event which included St. John’s in Arichat.

“The public tour was very successful in my view as we received approximately 75 people in total the whole weekend,” David recalled. “We received locals, as well as people from Halifax, western Canada and the U.S.

“People were very enthusiastic and positive. Some people even became members of the Friends of St. John’s.”

As part of their fundraising efforts, the Friends will host an Old Fashioned Christmas in the church on November 25 and 26 from 4-8 p.m.

“The church will be decorated, the bells will ring and there will be entertainment,” David added.