United Church in Merrickville sees new life serving double duty

July 12, 2018 by

Merrickville UCThe United Church in Merrickville if fighting for its life.  The venerable old building located at the corner of St. Lawrence and Main Street, overlooking the canal came dangerously close to closing this year.  An aging and dwindling congregation could no longer support the upkeep.  That’s where Mark Sine stepped in, with an idea to help save the building.

“I’m a long time United Church supporter.  The church saved me years ago,” says Sine.

In the months leading up to the opening of the venue, Sine sank a considerable amount of money and effort into refurbishing the interior of the church so that it could support a variety of functions.

“We are trying to deliver a turnkey venue.  I think we can handle just about any type of production, event, meeting, conference, weddings, receptions or concerts,” says Sine.

He has increased the performance space, installed a dance floor, added custom made cushions to the pews, and custom made tables.  He’s creating a bar area, and installing new washrooms on the main floor, and new flooring in the Narthex of the church.

“We’re trying to raise the money to save the church.  If we don’t do something with this church, it will close.  So this is the idea that I brought to the table and that’s the bottom line, we’re going to use it as a venue and a church,” he explains.

Sine has installed an excellent QU 32 sound system and new lighting.  He is currently working on creating a private viewing room that also doubles as a break out room for conferences in the Narthex.

“It took a bit of time to put a deal together that was workable,” he admits.

Sean McCann performing in Merrickville

Sean McCann performing in Merrickville

The results speak for themselves.  On Saturday July 7th, a concert with Sean McCann of Great Big Sea fame was held at the church and was sold out.  The sound was excellent, the seating was comfortable and the tables meant bar drinks could be kept comfortably close to hand as audience members enjoyed the show.

After the show McCann told Lake 88, "This show was special because we’re in a beautiful refurbished redone church that’s been turned into more of an arts centre venue, and it still has everything spiritual about it but it sounds amazing, and it’s a great place for people to gather, it was built of that so it’s nice to have that happen again, and I’m glad to be the facilitator tonight.”

The bar tenders included Reverend Matt Gallagher, adding a layer of sanction to the new activities in the church.