It would be a loss to community
Re: Church divided over housing proposal, Dec. 12.
The drastic actions planned by First United Church of White Rock – to assure the future of the church because of financial problems – has reached the public press.
The plan is to construct more than 70 condominiums on the property, with space reserved for a church in their midst.
In order to obtain sufficient area on which to build enough units, the beautiful, historic church building is to be demolished.
Many church members and adherents are deeply concerned about this plan. It will also result in a serious loss to the community.
For example, this building has good acoustics. Many organizations rent it to present concerts and other public presentations because there are few other buildings available in this area with equivalent features.
The recent packed community Christmas dinner held there made use of the excellent kitchen facilities and dining area. (This Christmas Day meal, incidentally, was originally organized by the late Rev. Howard Filsinger, after several suicides because of loneliness the previous Christmas Day).
To construct a multipurpose building like this today would cost millions of dollars.
The financial problems of First United Church are not unique. Many of the mainline Protestant churches in White Rock, South Surrey and beyond are experiencing the same problems.
Yet churches like these are so essential to help parents teach love, forgiveness and concern for others.
Think of Nelson Mandela, who grew up in a Methodist Church – one of the denominations that formed the United Church of Canada in 1925. His almost unbelievable ability to forgive makes us realize that these teachings have enormous consequences in the lives of people, and even of countries.
Nationally, constructing condominiums on church property is gaining as a way to aid in their financing.
But, surely some way – such as church amalgamation, or another plan – can be found to maintain this particular building.
In addition, its structure fits well in the neighbourhood in which it is located.
Florence Brownridge, White Rock