Augustine Centre in the middle of Winnipeg is halfway through its renovations to further help and engage the community.
"We are in the same situation that many churches are in right now. We have huge churches and diminishing attendees," says Glynis Quinn, the Executive Director of Oak Table, which runs in the basement of Augustine Centre.
Quinn states that the size of Augustine United Church is roughly four to five times bigger than the average church built these days.
"Over the years we've had a crumbling infrastructure in this church and about four years ago the Augustine Church Council put out some tenders to see what would come back in terms of what they should do with the property. They really made a bold move," says Quinn.
In 2018, Augustine United Church became Augustine Centre in hopes of continuing to serve the local people.
"They've been here for over 100 years, serving the community, they wanted to continue serving that community. They thought the best way to do that was hand over the church to a new entity."
Three organizations now make up Augustine Centre, including the congregation of Augustine United Church. The other two are SPLASH daycare and Oak Table.
"The partnership model means that the three work together to form a partnership and manage the maintenance and oversight of the building. They wanted people in the building to have the same values and outlook on really becoming a place where the community would be served," says Quinn.
SPLASH runs its childcare program on the top two levels of the church and can care for 92 children at a time. Oak Table runs in the lower part of the building.
"Oak Table runs from Monday to Friday at this time. Between December and March, 1 Just City which we are a member of will run a shelter for overnight guests, up to 40 people. We also serve over 26,000 meals in a year. We have a foot care program for people, and we also provide art programs for people."
While church runs on Sunday mornings in the sanctuary, that space will also function as a community performance area in the future.
As part of their capital campaign, the steeple was recently redone. It's the tallest entity in the village sitting at 152 ft above street level. It's been recently fully repainted, gold leaf was added to the centrepiece, and it had a modern light system added to shine different coloured lights on it.
"The tower can now light up at dusk and we can change the colours according to what is going on in the community and in Canada. Right now it's back to white, but it will change to orange on the upcoming National Day for Truth and Reconciliation [September 30]."
To date, the campaign has raised $4 million of its $8.5 million budget for all the upgrades they want to do.
"The $4 million has so far completed Oak Table and we're hoping that by the 14 of the month, SPLASH will be completed as well. What is left to do is the performance space and sanctuary, as well as the accessibility ramps in the front."
Quinn hopes to bring the community into the space perhaps one day to have a string quartet on the lawn. In doing the upgrades, they hope to invite people to participate and benefit from the centre, no matter who they are.