The Alliance Church as been in Revelstoke for 70 years and Bea Buhler has been there for most of it.
Even after the church caught fire in 1976 and moved, Buhler was there to help.
“It’s very rare that you get someone to attend church that long, let alone volunteer for it,” said church pastor George Brodie.
Buhler has volunteered at the church for roughly 50 years.
The church is a valuable part of her identity. Through the years, Buhler has volunteered for the Sunday School, helped people in a state of emergency and organized food for funerals.
Her specialty is black forest cake.
“A lot of people in town know her through her food. There were many times after a fire, Bea would show up with a casserole,” said Brodie.
“The church is known because of Bea.”
Buhler also has a reputation as a puppeteer. She writes her own skits and develops her own shows on various topics, such as the importance of being kind, obeying your parents and not fighting.
“I get multiple requests a year for her puppet shows. All from teenagers this year,” said Brodie.
Recently, Buhler also started volunteering for the Revelstoke Hospice Society, where she helps someone with Alzheimer’s.
Together, they’ll play bocce or just chat.
Through the years, Buhler has watched Revelstoke change. The church crowd is younger, with skiers and snowmobilers.
While the Lutheran and Anglican churches have closed in recent years, Buhler said the congregation at the Alliance Church is growing. Buhler is one of the oldest in her congregation at age 78.
Brodie said Buhler has taught him perspective, such as the history of the church in Revelstoke and how it’s changed.
“The longer I’m here, the more I realize how many people in town she’s touched,” he said.
For Buhler, churches are vital in a community.
Without faith, the community isn’t as rich or supportive. For example, when her first husband died or her kids got sick, the church was there to provide comfort.
“It would have been much harder to have gone through that without the church,” she said.
For her, the church is family. “I love Jesus and he loves us.”
This article was part of our women of inspiration series featuring inspiring women in Revelstoke for International Women’s Day on Mar. 6