— from Deborah Sparks for Emmanuel Episcopal Church —
On Main Street, as you first enter the village of Eastsound, sits a charming white, “historic carpenter Gothic church” which includes the site of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, it’s Parish Hall and Benson Community Hall.
The facilities are commonly used by the Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church, a Quaker worship group, Jewish holiday gatherings, yoga classes, Spanish language services, memorials of all denominations, concerts, the local schools, 4H, AA and Al-Anon, and many other local non-profit organizations. Through donations from the Give Orcas Campaign, audio and visual equipment will be available throughout the facility to provide state of the art experiences for those that require technology for their events.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Orcas Island was added to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington state, December 12, 1994.
Surrounded by beautiful gardens and a white picket fence across the front of the grounds, a passerby is welcome to walk the labyrinth that is in the court yard between the buildings of the Parish Hall, the church and Benson Hall (another, smaller, community room). The buildings and grounds sit prominently on a cliff overlooking East Sound.
The church, the historic building, was built in 1885, so for 134 years the buildings and grounds have been lovingly maintained by volunteers through generous giving of time and expertise including fundraising, gardening, painting, and tech set up. Emmanuel Episcopal Church having always been a generous supporter of many of the non-profits on Orcas Island has always had friends in the community at large that have come forward to help.
It is time, again, for repairs and upkeep to be accomplished without delay. The challenge is to get the repairs completed in the near future in order to assure that no further major maintenance will be required for the next 10 years. Given the impact of increasing usage by the community at large, Emmanuel Church has created a plan for roof repair (completed in 2018) painting the buildings (in progress), upgrading lighting and security accessibility, kitchen and bathrooms, ceiling fans, church window repair, floor refurbishing. The estimated cost of all this repair work is approximately $300,000.00.
July 14 kicks off the Emmanuel Church Capital Campaign called Restore, Preserve and Share to raise funds to take care of these major repairs needed to be completed on this historic building. The community is invited to contribute funds and be a part of the preservation of this Orcas Island Historic site.