A PARISH REBORN II
Volunteers rebuild a second Katrina-damaged church.
SHOP OWNER: Pete LaBelle
LOCATION: Holland, MI
A few days after hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast, our church in Holland, MI adopted two churches in Biloxi, MS, and have since been working to get them back on their feet. Neither facility was really damaged by the wind, but rather the surge of water that came with it. Six trips to Biloxi from Holland, involving nearly 300 volunteers now, along with support from a few other resources, have both churches finally back up and running. The first church, Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church, was restored and operational five months after the storm. I had volunteered to build the altar furniture for the church and had it installed by their first service in January of 2006. Check out Shop Shot #757 for that project.
In the fall of 2006, I was contracted to build the furniture for the second church, Blessed Seelos Catholic Church. Work started in January of 2007 and was completed mid-March. It is being delivered to the church this week (week of April 2, 2007) traveling with a team of 36 mission workers spending their Spring break pounding nails. The furniture is to be installed just in time to celebrate Easter Mass.
The whole package included a main altar, three "side" altars with flat backs to set against a wall, pulpit, lectern stand, three chairs and two tables. The pieces are all oak solids and oak plywood.
The dark band is black coarse-crystal granite tiles, which shimmer as you walk past and accents the oak well. The finish color was custom mixed to blend with the existing pews in the church. Twenty sheets of 3/4" plywood were donated to the project. The church covered the rest of the materials. All labor for construction and transportation was donated.
Design was started from a catalog picture of an altar and evolved from there. After comparing catalog prices against the furnishings I produced, this project cost the church about 1/10 of commercially built furniture.
Several people have told me I should get into the church furniture business. That would be fine, except that the money made by myself from both of these projects would maybe buy a Happy Meal at McDonalds, but that's ok, considering my ultimate customer!. . . Pete LaBelle
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