Church remains faithful to meet fundraising goal

NANAIMO – St. Paul’s Anglican church needs renovations.

It might take a little faith, but Archdeacon Brian Evans is confident St. Paul’s Anglican Church can raise enough money for its next major renovation.

Roof repairs are wrapping up on Nanaimo’s 152-year-old church this fall, prompting a look ahead to the organization’s next dream project.

According to Evans, the church parish hall needs a major facelift, from electrical work to new insulation.

Instead of investing dollars into an aging building, the archdeacon sees an opportunity to create a new community space that’s larger and more universally accessible.

There are more than 40,000 visitors to the church each year and 56 per cent are attending community groups and events.

The hall space is “inadequate” for the demand, showcasing the need for larger offices and meeting facilities, Evans said.

The church is interested in building a two-level, wheelchair-accessible space, with an elevator, larger meeting rooms and improved office space.

A feasibility study, expected to wrap up this October, is set to gauge the public’s appetite for the rebuild.

While St. Paul’s currently has $1.1 million set aside for the project, it will have to fundraise the remaining dollars to reach the estimated $3.3-million price tag.

“The hall is at a critical stage in its life where it needs major repair work done, so either we put the money into an old building or we rebuild it,” Evans said.

St. Paul’s has been at the corner of Church and Chapel streets downtown in some form since it hosted its first congregation in 1861. It has housed 12-step programs and mental health meetings and initiatives to feed and clothe people in need and it has also served as an arts and entertainment venue.

Recently the church raised money for roof repair work to address leaks that were damaging the integrity of the building.

The project cost $300,000, with $20,000 contributed by the City of Nanaimo through a heritage grant.

The scope of the next project will hinge on public support, according to Evans, but the ministry hopes to get underway within the next two years.

Is it possible to raise more than two million in that time? Well, Evans said, “we are in the faith business.”