The pastor of Genesis Christian Centre is praying his congregation will find a new place of worship before the end of June.
Dan Cousins, pastor, and Genesis, along with Discover Montessori School and Les Petits Amis de Celine daycare, are situated at Mount Benson Elementary School, but with Nanaimo school district relocating its Learn at Home programs there in September, tenants will have to move out by June 30 and Genesis hasn’t found a new spot.
Cousins said he was notified in early December.
There are about 700 people who consider Genesis their home church. It has turned into “quite a community gathering place” and the fact they have to vacate is very unfortunate, he said.
“Because of the size now that we are, we really need to find something that’s going to be able to accommodate a good load of people and that is nearly impossible in this city,” Cousins said. “We can rent some place for $15,000 or $20,000 a month, which is impossible for a community group to do.
“But of course, those are all retail scenarios and those retail scenarios all want somebody that’s going to draw retail dollars and retail traffic.”
In an e-mail, Pete Sabo, district director of planning and operations, said there is discussion to relocate the daycare and Montessori school to Dufferin Crescent school, but the only talks with Genesis have centred on “wrapping up of their current licence.”
Theoretically, Dufferin Crescent could work, but Cousins said the district has a long-term lease with Island Optimal until 2018 and it includes the gym, which Genesis would need.
Cousins has considered relocating to Woodlands Secondary School, which closes at the end of June, but the district has told him it doesn’t know what its future plans are for the site.
Sabo said the Christian centre’s potential usage of Woodlands is a matter for the school board to consider once it receives an official request and Cousins says his group has tried unsuccessfully to arrange a meeting.
Genesis doesn’t currently have options, but Cousins is still hopeful.
“We won’t cease operations; there will be something that comes up before then,” said Cousins. “We might rent one of the theatres or something like that, so we would find a temporary [place], but we have much bigger plans than that and honestly, we’re much more significant than that; we need a place to call home.”
Anyone with space to accommodate Genesis Christian Centre is asked to call 250-585-1920.