A GOOD crowd gathered July 2 at the Usk Pioneer Chapel east of Terrace to celebrate its 50th year and to rededicate the structure.
Hosted by the Terrace Christian Reformed Church, the original dedication words from 1967 were read out again by church pastor Joel Ringma and Yvonne Warcup, who was a member of the children’s choir at that first dedication.
Ringma said the rededication of the chapel fit in well with Canada’s 150th anniversary, since the chapel was originally built in Canada’s centennial year.
Also speaking was Michael VanderKwaak whose father, Len, built the chapel.
He recounted his memories of watching the structure go up.
Rolf VandeVelde, who helped organize the rededication, noted in his remarks the ongoing maintenance at the chapel, which has kept the structure in top-notch condition.
“There have been a few improvements recently…the ramp, the railings, the new sign but the real reason it looks so good is due to five decades of ongoing maintenance,” said VandeVelde.
“I say decades because back in 1977, after the first 10 years, Len VanderKwaak passed on the care to my brother, John VandeVelde, with the words “here you go John, I took care of the chapel for the last decade, now it’s your turn for the next.”
VandeVelde then listed the chapels caretakers over the next years – John and Hilda VandeVelde, Bert and Tina VanKuelen, Harry and Miriam Nutma and Hilda Talstra, Meta Westerhof and Sara Henderson.
He noted that the painting of the siding was contributed by Cor Braam and recently a Home Hardware Hardi-Plank donation, installed by Wally Mantel, with the hope that it may never need to repainted again.
“Several years ago a gentleman offered to re-roof the steeple as it desperately needed new shingles, it must have been a challenge as he got nearer to the top, we thank you for volunteering your skills as well,” VandeVelde continued.
New pews were added by Wally Mantel and tile work on the floor done by John VandeVelde, he said.
”Many small groups from our church have maintained this chapel as well… in fact so many people in our church have taken care of this chapel over the years that there is no way to list all the names…. I hope you all know how appreciated you are,” VandeVelde added.
He also acknowledged the people at Usk for keeping an eye on the building and for cutting the grass around it.
And he singled out Bill McRae Jr. for the hours he put in to keep the area tidy.
”It is due to all these people that we are able to enjoy this chapel 50 years later or should I say five decades,” said VandeVelde in wondering who the next caretakers might be.
The rededication service was followed by a barbecue hosted by the Terrace Christian Reformed Church.
A 50th anniversary cake was also served.