From Alps to Ark Former Austrian Club finds new life in Victory

A third mural, that shows Jesus calling a group of children to him, was painted by a college student.“We see one of the needs out here is a space for community,” said Terri. “Those are some of the things that the Austrian Club would have done for people too.”The space is vastly different from what it was. The wood panelling and murals have been replaced with smooth, bright off-white walls. The decor resembles that of a crisp and clean lottery show-home while some wood accents and warm lights create a homey feel.Despite the stark contrast between what the Austrian Club was and the Regina Victory Church is now, the Murphys said they tried to respect the history of the building as they made it their own.“There was some discussion to try and remove the murals and we would have been open to that. But they were painted on Gyproc walls, so how do you remove that?” said Terry. “They took a lot of photos and had to maintain the memories that way.”The church also held a pseudo-garage sale to empty out the building of what was left — commercial grade soap, bathroom supplies, etc. Club members had first dibs, then other ministries and community organizations. Finally it was open to the rest of the public.Before the renovations, the couple spent some time walking through the building with John Jost, former club president and the original contractor.“He was so proud of the building,” said Terri. “They’d gone the extra mile. They loved this place.”Hosting a week of grand opening events from Oct. 1 to 6, the Murphys invite anyone who is interested in seeing how the place has changed to come out.Current club president D’Arcy Schenk hasn’t seen it yet, but is eager to do so.“I would love to go back there,” he said. “We’re very fond of (Pastor Terry) and his committee. They’re very good people.” TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post The former Austrian Club building has undergone extensive renovations to facilitate the growing Regina Victory Church. The former Austrian Club building has undergone extensive renovations to facilitate the growing Regina Victory Church. There’s still work left to do, but church services began in the spring and continue as they work on final touches.“We’ve renovated together quite a few houses and even some churches, but this was the biggest renovation we undertook,” said Terry.Save for the technical needs like plumbing and electrical, the Murphys along with hundreds of volunteers did the rest of the renovations, which so far have cost approximately $300,000.The main hall, which used to host weddings, banquets and dances in the former club, is now the church’s sanctuary. On the stage sits a drum kit, keyboard and a couple of electric guitars. A lit cross is further downstage.What used to be the bar is now Terry and Terri’s offices and a couple of cozy sitting rooms. A regular kitchen has replaced the club’s full commercial kitchen, and several walls and garage doors divide a once large open space into various meeting rooms for women’s bible study and addictions groups.A nursery is the only space that bears a resemblance to what the building once was, with murals that cover two walls. Instead of tall mountains and glassy lakes, it’s the creation story and Noah’s ark, painted by Terri herself. One small mural in the basement is all that remains of what used to be the Regina Austrian Edelweiss Club.Sunbeams light up a lush green forest. A stag and doe walk under a clear blue sky.A supply shelf full of bottles of glue, paper and other craft supplies covers half of it.The building’s new owners will eventually cover it up as they have the rest of the scenic murals of the old country — but not just yet.“Letting go of the past is always kind of sad,” said Terri Murphy. “But you have to.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Terri and her husband Terry are the lead pastors at the Regina Victory Church (RVC), which now fills the space the Austrian Club once did.They bought the building last year and spent from October until Easter doing extensive renovations, transforming the cultural club into a place of worship. The former Austrian Club building has undergone extensive renovations to facilitate the growing Regina Victory Church. The former Austrian Club building has undergone extensive renovations to facilitate the growing Regina Victory Church. Pastor Terri Murphy is shown in the basement with an old mural from the Austrian Club. The former Austrian Club building has undergone extensive renovations to facilitate the growing Regina Victory Church. Pastor Terry Murphy and his wife Pastor Terri stand in the nursery. TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post Even though the Austrian Club doesn’t have a home base anymore, Schenk said they are still very active. He called their 2019 events calendar an “aggressive one.”They have been hosting events at other local cultural clubs, including a recently sold-out schnitzel night at the German Club.They also plan to rent a space so they still have a presence at next year’s Mosaic cultural festival.“It’s something that we’ve not done before. We’re used to having our own building,” said Schenk.But things have changed and they are working hard to adapt to a new reality.“We don’t look at it as a bad thing; it’s actually a good thing,” he said.They have plans to review their latest strategic plan and adapt it to attract a younger crowd, as well as update the club to “meet more modern-day expectations.”The club currently has about 100 lifetime members and 30 to 40 active members.“It’s kind of up to us to carry the ball forward,” he said. “What does the future hold? Who knows? But I would suggest for most cultural clubs, they’re looking at the same thing.”The Murphys hope that the unconventional space and location — an industrial area — will help remove barriers to those who may want to explore Christianity.“It’s not real churchy,” said Terry. “This might take the walls down off the church.”But they recognize the bitter-sweetness of welcoming a community whose memory of the building is engrained with iconic Austrian decor and decades of traditions.“There’s a family here in the church where the kids had grown up in the Austrian Club doing dance with them,” said Terri. “It was all part of their childhood.“They came to the first service here and there were tears because there’s the mixed emotions — the loss, saying goodbye to what was. But then they were also happy that it was going to go on and (be) something that was going to help build families.”[email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *