Colin Sheen

Colin Sheen

Anglican church plans new hall

NANAIMO – Aging downtown church hall to be torn down for new Centre for Ministry and Community Service.

An Anglican Church bishop will take the first swing with a sledgehammer to signal the demolition of St. Paul’s Anglican Church Hall.

The hall, added on to the church at 100 Chapel St. in downtown Nanaimo in stages from the 1930-50s, will be replaced with a two-storey Centre for Ministry and Community Service.

Church leaders decided to tear down the old hall after learning the building is not adequate for current and future use, even after it was brought up to code and made wheelchair accessible, said Colin Sheen, St. Paul’s building committee chairman.

“One of the things was, that if we were going to expand our ministry and serve the people, first of all we had to look at how do we bring our building up to being accessible for all people,” said Archdeacon Brian Evans.

Cash reserves and a successful fundraising campaign among the church parishioners raised the estimated $3.5 million needed for construction.

“It will be a lot more functional, more meeting rooms, better use of space and up to date,” said Sheen.

The new centre will fit into the same footprint as the old hall, but provide nearly 930 square metres of floor space on two levels that will include a hall, kitchen, office space plus multi-purpose rooms and an elevator.

“The demand in the community for our facilities is there,” Sheen said. “In the downtown, the demand for our facilities is huge and that’s where we view our ministry. That’s where we think we can really help the community.”

Construction of the new centre will likely begin by the end of June, with demolition starting within the next two weeks.

The first step in the demolition process happens Monday (June 1) at 10 a.m. when the public is invited to attend the demolition ceremony with Bishop Logan McMenamie.

“The bishop is going to be here and ceremoniously kiss the building with a sledge hammer,” Evans said.

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