Community members hope to rebuild Merritt's Murray United Church

By Dylana Milobar
February 8, 2019 - 4:54pm

MERRITT, B.C. — It's been almost a month since a fire destroyed the Murray United Church — the oldest building in the Nicola Valley.

Now community members have turned their attention to fundraising and rebuilding.

Members of the Trinity United Church — which owns the property where the historic Murray United Church once stood — are faced with raising at least $200,000 to build a new structure on the property.

"All the funds must be raised by the community, the church itself, our church here could never afford to rebuild it," says Trinity United Church Board Director Jack Polmans. "The only insurance we had on it was clean up insurance."

The new building would be an exact replica of the church, that was built in 1876. This historical site has been visited by tourists from around the world.

"For the last three years the tourism there was unbelievable and they were from all over the world," Polmans says. "Some people would come to find their great grandfather's grave or great uncle. We had one couple stop in and their uncle is buried there, and we found the grave, so they were quite excited. They were from England, so it is an international thing."

A 37-year-old Merritt man is facing arson charges in the Murray United fire, along with several other church arsons.

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