Church a labour of love

Bujor Tanasescu, who is originally from Romania, is building a church in the Ruckle Addition area in his spare time.

Bujor Tanasescu and his wife Gabby have been hard at work building a church in the Ruckle area of Grand Forks.

There are many fine hobbies that people pursue in their spare time, particularly after retirement. There’s knitting, golfing, boating, travelling and a whole host of other activities that are good fun and can be productive too.

For one Grand Forks resident, his hobby is a little off the mainstream.

Bujor Tanasescu, who is originally from Romania, is building a church in the Ruckle Addition area in his spare time.

“It started about 10 years ago when we came back to Canada from Chicago and our son was about three months and we needed to baptize him,” said Tanasescu. “We went all around and there was no Romanian Church around here. We had no choice but to go to the Anglican Church.”

Tanasescu said he was very appreciate of Reverend Shenstone of the Anglican Church for baptizing his child, but he still missed a couple of key parts from the Romanian Orthodox Church he left behind: Easter and Christmas.

“On Easter, we used to go to the church and meet friends that you sometimes would only see once a year,” he said. “People used to go out at midnight and go around the church three times and then go home with a candle and they’re happy for a new start. And Christmas, everybody likes. So I said to my wife Gabby that I wanted to build a Romanian Church because I  have my grandson  who I want to baptize in this church.”

Tanasescu left Romania 25 years ago and has spent time in five different countries (Ukraine, East Germany, West Germany, Iraq and U.S.) as well as Romania and Canada.

After speaking with different churches and getting help from them with various tasks such as the baptizing of his son, Tanasescu decided against having a strictly Romanian Church and opening it up to all.

“I want the church to represent all those churches that were so nice to me in my lifetime,” he said. “I decided a year ago it would no longer be called the Romanian Church but just simply the Church.”

Tanasescu said going to church in Romania did not mean it was a place you went to pray and “be fanatical and religious.”

“In Romania when people would get together and talk, people around them would say, ‘Oh, they’re in the church.’ People that get together because they have something to share they would form a church and come together.”

Tanasescu is not sure when the Church will be completed. He does have the frame and the roof built. He is hoping it will be functional come next summer. He is there working most of the day on building the Church with help from his wife and other friends.

“There is still the stair house to come and the bell tower,” said Tanasescu. “There has to be a bell to ring twice a year for Easter and for Christmas. And maybe when there is a baptism.”

Tanasescu calls the Church his “hobby building.” He said it will be an ongoing project for a while.

In his building permit with the city, the building is indeed purposed as a hobby building. The details of the project are listed as: hobby activities, chess, bridge, garden, orchard and church. The building will be two stories high with a main floor area of 800 square feet. The estimated cost is $55,000.

Tanasescu has many other ideas for uses for the building, including hosting a fall fair or Octoberfest, as well as a borscht cook-off festival. “It would be a nice place for people to come together and make nice things happen,” he said.