When fire destroyed Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Bas-Caraquet, New Brunswick, the community was devastated.

Not only was the historic church the spiritual centre of the small community, it also acted as a community hub for its residents, hosting a limitless number of gatherings, meetings, clubs and social events.

That feeling of devastation only worsened when it was discovered that the building was drastically underinsured, and the coverage limits would not be enough to rebuild the structure as it had previously stood.

The Ecclesiastical claims team knew the situation required a creative solution and met with community leaders to determine a course of action that would best meet the needs of this dynamic community.

The claims team worked with Bas-Caraquet religious leaders and members of the community to come up with a list of features that a new church building needed to meet their many needs. This list was handed off to an architectural firm that was instructed to design a building with as many of these features as possible, within the limited budget.

The architects rose to the challenge and designed a truly modern church with plenty of meeting spaces, a full kitchen and most of the other amenities identified by the community as “must-haves”.

There was just one problem: there was no money left in the budget for stained-glass windows. To the congregation, this was an impossible situation. As one community leader announced at a public meeting, a church without stained-glass is not a real church.

Not wanting to disappoint a customer and a community, the claims team searched for a solution that would put stained glass into the new church.

This search somehow led the team to a couple who had purchased a decommissioned church building in St. John, more than 400 kilometres away. The couple was converting the building into an event venue and wanted to remove the stained-glass to allow more natural light into the room.

After a series of excited phone calls and some quick negotiations, the couple agreed to donate their stained-glass windows to the new Bas-Caraquet church in return for new, standard windows to replace them.

Ecclesiastical quickly moved to coordinate the removal of the windows from the event venue and have the windows shipped to a storage location awaiting installation in the new church building.

It was a classic win-win. The event venue, now known as The Rockland, opened with brand new windows and lots of natural light and the congregation in Bas-Caraquet celebrated, knowing that their new church and community hub would feature fantastically detailed stained glass.