Makeover of Historical Church at Fort Jones, California

August 07, 2008

In July, California-Nevada Volunteers in Mission teams from five churches joined together to replace the steps and the roof trim boards at Fort Jones United Methodist Church in California.

“This is UMVIM working at its best,” says Dr. Sue King, California-Nevada Annual Conference UMVIM Director. “The Board of Trustees at Fort Jones UMC planned the project, provided materials, and extended the invitation to volunteers through the Cal-Nevada Volunteers in Mission program. And then, Fort Jones church formed its own UMVIM team to work side by side with teams from neighboring Etna UMC and Redding UMC (Shasta District), Pinole UMC (Bay View District), and Visalia UMC (Fresno District).”
 The church’s aging cement steps constantly needed patching due to cracks and chipping that occurred with each “freeze and thaw” cycle of Northern California (see before picture at left). An early team of volunteers took out the old steps with rented jackhammers. A week later, another team of volunteers constructed new steps from the blueprints provided by the Fort Jones Trustees.
 At the same time, other volunteers used a cherry picker to remove trim boards from the roof and steeple – boards that were riddled with holes from insect-seeking woodpeckers (see photo at right). Originally, soft wood had been used for the trim work, instead of cedar or another hard wood that would repel insects (and hungry woodpeckers). So wanting to maintain a welcoming and attractive presence in the community, the congregation decided that now was the time to replace the trim that had become an eyesore.
Sanova Siu, Chair of the Board of Trustees and a tireless advocate for the Fort Jones UMVIM project, shares these words: 
“We had the pleasure of getting to know and work beside some of the most pleasant, wonderful, organized and hardworking people (see photo at left) one could ever expect to meet. We accomplished a multitude of repairs, besides the already planned major tasks. What talented and innovative people! We are so blessed and can’t begin to thank them enough.”
“Before” photos are by Sue King and “during and after” photos of the projects and UMVIM teams were taken by Fort Jones UMC shutterbug, Maury Tasem, and his “trusty sidekick,” his Nikon DX40 digital camera.
To see more photos, please click here.