There is a passage in the Bible comparing two men; one who built his house on solid rock and the other who built his house on sand, with predictable results: "the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew, and beat upon that house and it fell. And great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7:27)
Although the builders of the old St. Vital Church, believed to be the oldest Roman Catholic church in the province, set the foundation on solid ground, it has become evident nothing built on the sands of time is secure.
Although the future of the log church has been the subject of much discussion in recent years, a decision has yet to be made and, as time and water damage takes a steady toll, time is running out.
Local historian Gil Bellevance said, "It's got quite a history and it would be sad to see it go.
"We've tried very hard to convince town council to at least repair the roof before there's more damage done," he added.
And it seems town council has heard the plea, as they voted during a regular meeting to do what it takes to save the structure.
"I don't want to be the mayor to lose the building," said Chris Odishaw. "It's worth saving."
Previously, a range of sentiments had been expressed, including demolishing the church, repairing the leaking roof to buy time for a later decision or restoring the church to its original condition.
"We've had long discussions in council over the last four years," said Odishaw.
Currently, the church is clad in stucco, which hides its post-on-sill log frame construction. A front porch and rear annex were also added to the church in 1894 and 1907, respectively.
The church is the only remaining structure in Battleford built on the original survey, which is why it is at an angle to the rest of the buildings.
In January 2009, town council approved St. Vital parish's request to remove the bell from the tower of the old church and relocate it to the current St. Vital Church. The relocation never took place, however.
There was also discussion of relocating the remains of the parish's first priest, Father Florent Hert, who is buried beneath the church.
Odishaw believed removing these assets would diminish the historical significance of the building and potentially render it unworthy of restoration.
At the North-West Historical Society's monthly meeting Oct. 20, Odishaw reiterated his commitment to saving the church, saying the first step would be to reshingle the structure to allow time to decide what form the restoration would take.
NWHS member Don Light voiced the opinion that the initiative wasn't coming from the right direction.
Although Light would like to see the church restored, he thought the responsibility shouldn't fall on the Town, and recalled how his father, Fred Light, went around town collecting money for the restoration of Gardener Presbyterian Church.
Light said there is a lack of interest on the part of the Oblates, St. Vital parishioners and the community in general.
"If they're not interested in this, should we be?" he asked.
Julian Sadlowski, who was also present at the meeting, said he thought organizations such as the Knights of Columbus should be involved in saving the church.
"Tax dollars only go so far," said Sadlowski.
Sadlowski, former mayor of North Battleford, was married in the old St. Vital church.
He donated a drawing of the bell, suggesting prints could be made and sold to raise funds for the restoration.
The NWHS carried a motion to support the Town of Battleford in their efforts to save the church, and also to form a council to contact various community organizations to raise funds and support for the project.
Bellevance said the society had already "put our money where our mouth is," explaining NWHS hired an engineer to inspect the building.
"We know what the structure needs," he said.
Odishaw indicated the cost of completely restoring the building would be in the area of $500,000, but added a number of options were available, such as only restoring the exterior and sealing the church until a later date.