Linda Braid, left, Peggy Jensen and Sally Bullas, of Brechin United Church, hope people will go to a special event at the church March 11 that will remember the life and times of the church. A new church facility is expected to open in 2019. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Brechin United looking back at the life of times of the church

Redevelopment plans are for housing and new church on the site in 2019

Brechin United Church is planning for its final service, but first, it wants to take a moment to reminisce.

With a newly constructed place of worship scheduled to open in 2019, an event will be held Sunday, March 11 to think about what the church has meant.

Brechin United Church, located on Estevan Road, will have its final service on April 1, Easter Sunday, and the redevelopment plan will include a new church and an affordable housing and apartment complex. There is an open house from 2 to 4:30 p.m. March 11 for anyone who’s had a connection to the church.

The current church opened in 1958 and has seen weddings, church services and has been a meeting place for a number of local organizations.

Peggy Jensen, a retired reverend, has seen the changes. The church was formerly located at another site on Estevan Road and Jensen said her family was part of the group that moved to the current location in 1958.

“Since then it’s been a sanctuary and place where people have come for many things…” said Jensen. “They’ve come of course for Easter and Christmas and worship, but this space has also been a home for people’s weddings and memorial services.

“In the ’60s the youth involved in the church, there were hundreds of people involved. CGIT, Canadian Girls in Training, had girls from age 12 to 18 grow up in the church and have the Christian values as being part of a Christian community, so there’s lots of CGIT girls in Nanaimo and beyond, who were here at that point in their lives.”

The church houses a preschool and has provided space for Alcoholics Anonymous, Girls Guides of Canada and the LGBTQ community.

“There’s been lots of drama groups within the church and also musical groups that I think we need to remember that this … has been used, not just for our choir, but A Cappella Plus and Island Singers and having the drama examinations here, the music examinations, it’s been a sanctuary that’s been used for acoustics and musical,” said Jensen.

Construction is expected to begin in the summer and Jensen said it’s anticipated the new facility will be ready by December 2019.

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