by Neil Dunning
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:20
This quote from the Gospel of Matthew sums up the purpose for Building and Grounds care at St. Mark’s. We strive to have a place where we can gather in God’s name free from distractions and with aesthetics that lead us to an attitude of praise.
The grounds were cared for this year by a few groups. Professionally, a grounds care company was contracted for the grass cutting and snow plowing. We contract the closing of the irrigation system in the fall. Sidewalk shovelling and salting is completed by our faithful Trevor. The weekly maintenance of the flower beds is cared for by a small but dedicated group known as The Garden Club. There are four garden areas, all of which are “nature friendly.” The front and back beds house a combination of colourful bedding and native plants that did a pretty good job of providing colour from spring to fall, and flowers for pollinating insects. The bed along the south “out” driveway features all native pollinator friendly plants. The forest garden beside the south driveway features native forest trees, shrubs, and plants, and is an ever developing haven for local nature.
The property is also maintained by a larger group of volunteers who come twice a year, spring and fall, to rake leaves. In the fall of 2022 alone we put out 150 bags of leaves for pickup by the city. This effort is supported by our excellent makers of muffins and cookies.
The building is cared for by a combination of contractors and volunteers. The furnaces and air conditioners are maintained regularly by a mechanical contractor. Electricians and plumbers are hired as needed for work that cannot be done in-house. Building cleaning is done by our two custodians. Much of our maintenance work is also completed by volunteers—in 2022 this work included a thorough check of the integrity of the roof with minor repairs, updating labelling on fuse panels, washroom plumbing, and structural work on cabinetry.
Two costly repairs in 2022 were required. A parking lot light was vandalized and had to be replaced. One of our furnace units needed a major repair as well. Thankfully the furnace repair was paid for by a generous donation by a family in our parish.
Going forward a Building and Grounds Committee has been struck to help us better track maintenance needs and to advise the Wardens and Parish Council on the state of the building and grounds. We have several interested members who will bring a variety of interests and experience to the table. Areas of discussion will include decor (eg. paint), accessibility, needed repairs, planning for replacement of equipment, and more.
The first meeting will be in March of 2023. Interested parishioners are are invited to speak with Neil Dunning.