The Anglican church building in Ladysmith, formerly St. John the Evangelist, will become a seniors’ housing complex.
Right Rev. Logan McMenamie, Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia, said Monday the move to sell the church to the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association for social housing, was made in the spirit of fulfilling the Christian mission of the church.
“The ministry of the Anglican church will not end,” said McMenamie. “Socially, affordable housing is a big priority for the diocese as we move ahead.”
The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association plans on redeveloping the site to create 30-40 units of affordable housing dedicated to seniors, people with developmental disabilities and others who have trouble with the rental market.
The group approached the Anglican Diocese about buying St. John the Evangelist after April 2016 when parishioners voted to disestablish, ending the legal entity of the church parish.
McMenamie said the diocese had other, larger offers for the church building, but opted to go with Ladysmith Resources Centre. The group’s aims were just a better fit with what the diocese wants to achieve.
He also said the Anglican Diocese hopes to continue to work with the Resources Centre Association in the future.
When parishioners were preparing to disestablish, a process made necessary because of lack of money and an aging congregation, McMenamie said he told them it did not mean the ministry of the Anglican church would end in Ladysmith entirely.
He said he encouraged them to help with their local food bank. And services and meetings can be held in peoples’ homes.
For those who can’t travel far but still wish to attend services, he encouraged them to seek out other Christian communities in Ladysmith, such as the United or Catholic Churches, depending on the style of service they prefer.
For those who can travel, many now attend services in Cedar, Chemainus or Duncan.
The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia is comprised of 44 parishes on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Kingcome Inlet on the mainland.