When Rob Sadowski and Lindy Spencer hooked up their 2008 fifth-wheel trailer to their 2003 truck last October, along with a couple of motorcycles, they knew an adventure awaited them.
They just didn’t know they’d find their ultimate prize in Weymouth, Nova Scotia.
Leaving their home in Calgary, Alberta, they could have gone west. But there was much more opportunity – not to mention geography – by heading east. They even travelled south, making their way into the United States.
But it was in Weymouth that the married couple of 32-plus years found something they had always been looking for.
Or maybe it was vice-versa.
“Why this church? I guess it kind of found us,” Spencer says.
“It’s always been my dream to renovate and live in a church. I’ve just always felt that space was special,” she says, seated with her husband inside the former church at 34 Victoria Avenue in Weymouth.
“We were looking to relocate somewhere in the east and just really liked this particular building a lot. I really like a lot of architectural detail. The size of the windows are massive,” says Spencer, whose first name is Linda but says, “Call me Lindy.”
“It was a bit of a pipe dream. It wasn’t that we were setting out looking for a church. The church just kind of found us,” she says. “We had been watching real estate everywhere we’ve been.”
And there it was.
So, Weymouth it is.
Sadowski says they’ve been thrilled with the response and reception they’ve received since purchasing the former church and being in Weymouth. They’ve been living in their fifth-wheel at a campground in Church Point since they’ve got a long ways to go before the church property is in any condition to be lived in.
Built in 1909, the church replaced another one close by that was destroyed by fire.
“From what we’ve learned from the locals, it was a Methodist church…the first service was held in early 1910,” Spencer says.
It’s been many years since services have been held here.
They say there’s no water or sewer on the property now, the couple says. The interior needs a lot of work. But size-wise it suits them just right. They envision an open concept with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and loft-style bedroom to take advantage of the high ceiling.
For now, the big question of whether or not their dream comes through will depend on the structural integrity of the walls of the church, in particular the front one. If things are too far gone and too costly to repair, they may reconsider their plans and start from scratch with another home on the property. But that, they say, would be a last resort.
They hope and – fittingly, since this is a church – pray it doesn’t come to that.
They have been stripping things down to the brick to see what would be required for repairs. Beams underneath the structure also need to be redone and shored up.
A lot of work, yes – but, as the saying goes, it would definitely be a labour of love.
Sadowski says the moment they stepped into the building, they immediately loved it – evident by the smiles the couple has in a photo they posted to Facebook as Sadowski is carrying his wife over the threshold. Although the fact they did the photo on self-timer and Spencer had only a few seconds to leap into his arms to capture the moment also added to laughter and joy of the moment.
The couple has also been reaching out to the community for information and photographs of the church as they forge forward.
“We just don’t really have any idea of the numbers and cost because we don’t understand what the problems are,” Spencer says about how much work will be required. “This was the risk for us in buying this particular church.”
But, it was a risk they were excited to take, some 30,000 kilometres later after leaving Calgary last October and going here, there are everywhere.
Says Spencer, “We just sort of found it, and loved it, and said let’s do it.”