It is out with the old, in with the new at St. Aidan Anglican Church.  That is the idea anyway.

"Renewing the church is a big thing," said Rev. Allen Doerksen. "But it is a big job and now we need to execute."

Large-scale renovations are already underway at the downtown Moose Jaw church. The project was made possible by a $577,000 donation from one of the church's parishioners. The parishioner sold three rental houses and donated the proceeds

According to Doerksen - reverend at St. Aidan since 2004 - the goal of the renovations is to make the church a more enjoyable place to be. 

"Our hope is for St. Aidan to become a place where all people feel comfortable to come and worship no matter where they are on their spiritual journey."

Planned renovations include moving church offices into the old residence connected to the church, creating large spaces for youth and children in the basement, expanding the fellowship hall and building a larger kitchen.

Doerksen envisions the expanded kitchen and hall being very accessible to the community. The space will be able to accommodate banquets and receptions, and Doerksen hopes to eventually set up the equivalent of a soup kitchen in partnership with other local churches.

The sanctuary will also undergo a significant makeover. A nursery is to be created at the back, and the existing altar will be moved forward in order to put a chapel in its place. 
And to accommodate the elderly, stairs will be knocked out so that the entire main floor will be on the same level.

But not all of the money is going towards renovations. At the donor's request, $200,000 has been allocated for children and youth work.
This money has allowed the church to hire a part-time priest in charge of youth and children's ministries. 

"The church needs to be part of the community. We want to show kids that we have a safe place where they can come and experience the presence of God," said Doerksen.
According to Doerksen, the youth worker will look into forming alliances with schools, providing support for young mothers, and the possibility of instituting a church service specifically for youth.

The donor, who has requested anonymity, hopes that his or her actions will challenge other church members in Moose Jaw to think of creative ways of funding the growth and development of local congregations.