Saint Thomas Episcopal Church to undergo renovations

Roseanne McKeeJ-C Correspondent
Saint Thomas Episcopal Church to undergo renovations

The Rev. Andrea Jones of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Pawhuska granted an interview on July 2 to discuss the upcoming roof renovations to be done at the 114-year-old church over which she presides.

Jones will fully unveil her vision for the next 100 years with parishioners in the coming weeks. However, in this interview she shared some of what is to come.

“The plan for the next 100 years includes the roof renovation,” Jones explained.

The approval from the diocese is pending, with the work expected to begin in August or September, Jones said.

Central to the renovation is that the flat parts of the roof will be replaced with peaked roofing, she said.

“When the flat roofs are re-done, one will be raised; the one over the education wing will be raised to match the roofline of the rest of the building.

“This will open up space on the second floor that can be used as classrooms,” she explained.

“In the future there will be a stairway, the location of which is to be determined,” Jones said.

A regular stairway leading to the added classroom space is the goal of future renovations.

“For now, there will be a drop-down stairway from the ceiling,” she said.

Describing the specific things being done, Jones said, “We’re going to take the old tile off one at a time as far as the underlayment and replace all of that part and put storm and ice shield on and drip edging and guttering and remove any worn rotten material and re-lay the original tiles.

“We have found a place that has access to additional tiles — hopefully matching.

“For the peaks of the roof, we’ve found matching tiles, which are triangular shape so the style will still match and give a pleasing look. We’ll keep the same color and style and it will be renewed and ready for the next 100 years.”

In addition to adding needed interior space, the renovations will prevent and stop foundation and wildlife intrusion problems from occurring.

“The gutters will stop the rain from falling on the foundation and causing the foundation to crack,” Jones explained.

“There are four openings to the attic. As part of the work, these openings will be closed off to prevent animals from coming in and nesting.”

Describing the origins of the parish, Jones said: “The church began when the state was a territory.”

As a result, the bishop had to come from Arkansas to authorize the establishment of the church.

The church celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 1995 and Jones is looking forward to expanding the services provided to its parishioners for the next 100 years.

“With the added classroom space, I’d love to do additional renovation, adding walls. Ceilings have already been done,” she said.

Jones described her vision for a new program to serve the children and grandchildren of parishioners.

“There are other things I’d like to get instituted — the ‘Godly Play Program,’ based on the Montessori Program,” Jones said.

Included in the program are teachings on: “The Holy Eucharist, the Christmas story. There is a whole section on the Old Testament, and on parables. There are [character] figures provided. The children get to use these to act the story out as the adult reads the story, so it’s a really great program. It’s hands-on rather than sitting and letting and adult talk,” Jones explained.

She sees a long and bright future ahead for Saint Thomas Episcopal Church in which outreaches and programs will be added over time.

“So many people in the parish are involved in activities of the town, mostly through Christ’s Cupboard and the Ministerial Alliance. … We have a group of committed people.”

Saint Thomas Episcopal Church is located at 817 Leahy Ave., with Sunday services at 10 a.m. For more information, call 918-287-3513.