Ownership of Knights of Columbus Hall officially transferred
STANDISH — The Knights of Columbus Hall that hosted wedding receptions, fundraiser banquets, fish fries and breakfasts for many years in Standish has officially changed hands.
As of July 31, the K of C Hall became the Divine Shepherd Christian Community.
Pastor Devin Chisholm said the Knights approached the church’s leaders about purchasing the building.
“They approached us right after we formed three years ago expressing their desire to divest themselves of the building,” he said.
“We were having a hard time keeping up with the taxes, the insurance and the utilities,” said Fred Mosciski, president of the Columbian House, a K of C corporation formed for property ownership. “We weren’t renting it enough. One rental a month wouldn’t even cover our utilities.”
Mosciski said several years ago Bingo games were discontinued at the hall, and that put a big dent in the Knights’ finances.
“With Bingo we had a lot of the older generation that came to play,” he said. “When those people became deceased or unable to come, there weren’t any young people to fill in the gap.”
Chisholm said Divine Shepherd officials made the decision roughly 1 1/2 years ago to go through with the purchase. Congregation members put forth a lot of effort to make everything go smoothly.
“We’ve had wonderful people in the congregation that have been doing the legwork,” he said. “Our treasurer has been right spot-on with everything. Others have been working with the bank and others have been working with insurance.”
Gary McFarland, chairman of Divine Shepherd’s board of directors, said the deed was officially signed over last Thursday, and the first service was held Sunday, Aug. 3.
“We held our first service there (Sunday) morning,” he said. “We were there Saturday working all day and getting things ready to have the service there.”
Chisholm said the day after becoming the official owners, Divine Shepherd received approval from the federal government for nonprofit status.
“We have been registered with the state as a congregation since we began three years ago, and then kind of the frosting on the cake this week, the papers were signed on Thursday and our IRS federal 501 (c)(3) approval came Friday,” he said.
McFarland said there are not major changes planned for the building in the immediate future.
“We’ll eventually do some changes on the inside,” he said. “It’s going to take some time, but we’re able to use it as it is.”
“We have chosen to live with the building with minimal changes at this point in time so that we can get a feel for what the possibilities are,” Chisholm added.
In the near future, Chisholm said Divine Shepherd hopes to have a dedication service with not only the church congregation, but also community members in general.
As for the Knights of Columbus, Mosciski said the decision to sell the building was not an easy one to make.
“We didn’t want to do this, but we’d rather do this than be out on M-61 looking at a building we couldn’t pay the taxes on,” he said.
Mosciski said the organization will continue to function and has its eyes on a new building.
“We’re not going to disband,” he said. “We’re in the process of purchasing a new building.”
Unfortunately for newlyweds and groups such as the Sterling Sportsmen’s Association, which held its annual banquet at the K of C Hall, what may serve as the future building is only 1,800 square feet. The old hall was approximately 7,200 square feet.
Mosciski said the new site, which is located north of Standish on US-23, will be used for meetings and small gatherings, but could not hold the large crowds for monthly fish fries or breakfasts. Mosciski said he has heard many people say they are going to miss the old K of C Hall.
“We heard comments that they’re sorry to see it go,” he said. “One of the biggest was they’re going to miss the monthly breakfasts we had.”