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Catholic parish pushes toward goal
Flea market latest fundraising effort for new church building

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Sacred Heart parish in Fort Simpson was hoping to make a little money and raise even more awareness by holding a popular summertime event last month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Martina Norwegian stands with some of the gently used treasures that were for sale at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church's flea market on July 26. The event was a fundraiser for a new church building. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

On July 26, members of the parish set up a flea market beside the trailer the Catholic church uses as a residence for their priest. The goal was to fundraise for the church's building committee.

Last fall, the 90-year-old Sacred Heart Catholic Church building on the village's main street was demolished. The congregation hadn't been able to use it since 2009 because of concerns about its foundations.

The demolition was one of the steps the congregation has undertaken as they work toward constructing a new church building.

"We want to keep that awareness out there," said Martina Norwegian, about the congregation's plans for the future.

Church members hope to have a new building within the next two years. The building committee and representatives from the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith are working to meet that goal. Fundraising is a large part of it.

"We still have a long way to go," said Norwegian, who is a member of the parish council.

Norwegian couldn't provide exact numbers for how much the congregation needs to raise. A number of fundraising efforts have taken place this summer including bake sales and catering jobs.

A flea market was chosen as another opportunity because they are all-encompassing, she said. Flea markets can, and this one did, have everything from baked goods to household items to clothing.

Four people rented tables to sell their own items and others donated items for the church to sell. Two youth even ran a lemonade stand.

"It seems to be going good," Norwegian said while surveying the scene on Saturday afternoon.

Dawn Bell-Isaiah was one of the people who chose to rent a table at the sale.

"I like it. I think it's better because there is more variety of stuff," she said.

Bell-Isaiah said she'd been planning to hold her own garage sale, but decided to join the flea market because of the central location and as a way to contribute to the church.

"It's a good cause," she said.

The parish plans to hold one more flea market this summer. Every bit of fundraising and every donation helps, Norwegian said. This flea market raised $365.

Last month the parish received a $10 cheque from someone in Manitoba as a contribution to their building efforts.

"That's so helpful," Norwegian said.

"It's $10, but it's people who want to contribute."

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