Q: What is the connection between a young boy fleeing persecution in Iraq and a garden shed at a home close by Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea?
A: For the past six years The Christians at Risk Project driven by the Masconomo Council 1232 Knights of Columbus has targeted funds donated by local residents to assist in resettling Christian refugees to the home communities from which they were driven in a vicious jihad which intensified over the past 30 years under the cover of Gulf Wars I and II.
Naturally 2020 forced a “timeout” for the Council 1232’s premier mission project for the Christian communities in Iraq, especially those near Mosul. The need never ceased, but the Manchester Council’s ability to come together was temporarily curtailed.
As soon as protocols were relaxed in 2021, the Council began to consider the feasibility of again constructing a utility shed. Circumstances forced the issue when a Manchester by the Sea resident, Betsy Westra, decided for his birthday she would surprise her husband, Jim, with a unique garden shed, custom designed and built to resemble architectural features on their Beach Street home. Who would build it? The Knights’ team of course and the proceeds would go to the Project Rebuild fund.
There was one key stipulation: It was to be a surprise gift so there could be no construction on the rectory lawn or a banner announcing the project before its presentation. It was to be a surprise so everything was clandestine; even the construction team was less than half its usual size. Because of special design characteristics to match its home, the shed looked less like a conventional utility shed than a shingled cupola or some said a “salt shaker”. It is the perfect look and fit for its garden environment.
~Editor~ Next edition the history of Project Rebuild