Around Town: Jacob’s Well, Korean ELL, Financial Post: Central Presbyterian . . .

Jordan Klassen will be helping Jacob’s Well through his concert at St. James Anglican Church.

Jacob’s Well may have to move, again, so it is holding a series of fundraising events.

This Friday (June 14), Jordan Klassen will perform, with Georgia Johnson, on their behalf at St. James Anglican Church, a neighbour in the Downtown Eastside.

What is Jacob’s Well?

Jacob’s Well is a ‘living room space’ in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It is a place where we gather to give and receive friendship and support. It is where friends become family. Here, we celebrate the good and lament the bad, together.:

Jacob’s Well is a faith-based non-profit. We welcome all who come to our door. There is room for everyone at our table. We are a small community of friendship making a big difference in each other’s lives.

The Well is at risk. Our building is up for sale, and we may have to find a new space. We need help financially so that our doors can be kept open, our table can provide room, and our community can continue to offer support.

We want you to be a part of the community that is Jacob’s Well through your giving. We are not funded by any church or public organization. We depend on the generosity of friends like you.  Thank you for joining us and becoming a friend of the Well!

Jacob’s Well has been comfortably settled on Powell Street since 2017, but may soon have to move.

I posted stories about their last move in 2017, both as they were seeking support and as they were thanking the community for having helped them raise enough money to carry on.

This piece from Klassen’s site gives a sense of his recent music:

When Jordan Klassen set out to write his sixth full-length record, Glossolalia, he tapped into a new creative well. In the midst of recording the record, he found himself continuing to write, coming away from the process with two distinct yet complementary bodies of work. Marginalia now rounds out the collection from this period.

The Vancouver based singer-songwriter and producer composed Glossolalia mostly with guitar, creating a subtly blossoming record that perhaps nailed his “fairy folk for troubled times” approach better than ever before.

The arrangements on Glossolalia were reduced to the bare essentials to support Klassen’s voice with minimal production. While troubles are not a thing of the past, times are now different, and thus, Marginalia is the other side of the musical coin. It is smoother, fuller, and more elegant than its predecessor.

Go here for the full write-up.

Korean ELL mission

Grace Kim, Director of Korean Ministry at South Delta Baptist Church, with her family.

I enjoyed this ‘Church Plant Spotlight’ on Korean ministry in Delta, posted on the Fellowship Pacific site. Here is a portion:

A story from Grace Kim, the Director of Korean Ministry:

My family moved here from South Korea four years ago. We came here with a heart to raise up the next generation to be global leaders equipped with the gospel.

However, I never envisioned ministering to Koreans at South Delta Baptist Church. What has happened here is beyond my wildest dreams. It was definitely God’s providence and leading. . . .

By the time my [Doctor of Ministry] studies were complete, the pandemic was over and the church was eager to welcome and engage with brothers and sisters in Christ from different ethnicities and cultures. During the pandemic, most of the Koreans in the South Delta area went back to Korea, and what started as a small group in our home has grown to averaging about 45 people who join us for Sunday worship each week.

Our Korean community has expanded beyond the South Delta area to include families from Burnaby and Langley. To help meet the needs of the community, we offer free ELL [English Language Learner] classes. About 20 students learn English while also learning about the culture and way of life here.

The ELL class has also become a mission field that includes many different nationalities, as people from different countries have joined the community who have immigrated to Canada, not just Koreans.

Go here for the full comment.

Financial Post: Church properties
The Financial Post featured Central Presbyterian Church along with other churches across Canada in a in-depth June 6 article: ‘Property rich, cash poor: How churches can help solve Canada’s housing crisis.’

Joe O’Connor wrote that developers used to have the upper hand in negotiating with churches, offering large sums of money to congregations struggling to maintain their buildings:

Times change, however, and an alternative narrative around church properties has emerged in recent years, one that is not driven by developers dangling big, juicy cheques, but by a growing awareness among faith-based communities that they may be the ones holding the metaphorical real estate hammer in conversations involving their property.

Church land in major cities is often incredibly expensive, ideally situated and only increasing in value. Leveraging the value of that property for redevelopment means creating scenarios where the church, the guys with the big cheques and the great mass of Canadians who desperately need an affordable place or even any place at all to live get what they want.

Worship space at Central Presbyterian Church.

O’Connor profiled churches and developers in Toronto, Hamilton and Chicago, but one major focus was Vancouver:

“Let’s face it, all the mainline churches are in decline, and so this has created a crisis, but a crisis can lead to some creative thinking,” Reverend Dale Woods, of Central Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, said.

“The fundamental question facing the church today is: how does it steward its own resources – this incredibly expensive real estate – in a way that remains faithful to its own calling, which is to build better communities?”

To address that question, Reverend Jim Smith, Dale Woods’ predecessor at Central Presbyterian in Vancouver, started from the premise that the congregation was not interested in selling its 136-by-136-foot property and disappearing into the mists of the neighbourhood’s history.

“The property was worth about $6 million when we started discussing redeveloping it in 2005,” he said. “Today, it is probably worth closer to $30 million, and so had we sold it back then, we would never have been able to buy back into the Vancouver market.”

Smith said the church had some dubious offers, but came across a very reliable partner in the person of Colin Bosa of Bosa Properties Ltd.:

Then, Bosa and Co. built exactly what the church wanted, right down to the interior finishes of the 45 rent-subsidized suites. The developer paid for everything, including the church’s real estate lawyer fees, billed by a blue-chip Canadian law firm. (The handshake deal was formalized by a contract in 2014).

The kicker? Bosa handed ownership of three air parcels back to the church, keeping one for Bosa Properties that is home today to an at-market rental apartment with 162 units, including two-bedroom penthouse suites that fetch close to $5,000 a month. . . .

Central Presbyterian today is buzzing with action. There is a daycare, food bank, community kitchen and ample public space for neighbourhood groups to gather, and support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, to meet in. There is also a chapel named after Reverend Jim Smith.

Bosa thinks redevelopment of church properties is still possible, but acknowledges that a similar deal might not be possible today because of higher interest rates and labour costs.

Go here for the full article.

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