A year ago, the Anglican Diocese of B.C. made the traumatic and dramatic decision to sell nine Vancouver Island church properties or see its $1.2-million debt escalate further.
The move has turned out to be a blessing, despite the turmoil it caused for members whose families had attended the historic congregations for generations.
Five of the nine church properties have sold, the accumulated debt of the diocese is gone, and its financial future and mission potential have been “helped tremendously” for the next several years, said Chris Pease, the diocese’s asset manager.
Listed at $175,000 to $1.4 million, sale prices came “very close” to asking prices, he said.
In combination with cuts to expenditures, the diocese has paid off its accumulated debt, and will use some of the proceeds “to finance the annual operating deficit until revenues and expenses are back in balance,” Pease said in an email.
Leases and future sales of the unsold properties will support ministry initiatives and upgrade and maintain buildings within the diocese.
“I know it was very hard for parishioners,” but necessary to stave off “many more disheartening situations,” he said.
“One has to do something to make sure that the church survives and gets stronger for the future, even if it means making hard decisions now,” he said. “And I think that’s what the Anglican Church did.”