Diocesan Council supported two of its parishes at its January meeting—one with an endorsement, the other with a large amount of money.

St. Dunstan’s, the merger of smaller Fraser Valley parishes of St. Dunstan’s in Aldergrove and St. Alban’s in Langley, built a new church at 264th Street near the Fraser Highway five years ago at the cost of $2.7 million.

They had $800,000 from the sale of the former church properties, but faced a $1.9 million debt.

Five years ago, the diocese helped the parish finance the debt, which included granting St. Dunstan’s a $300,000 forgivable loan.

In five years, the parish raised slightly over $1 million in its capital campaign– some $200,000 per year, an accomplishment that Diocesan business Administrator Rob Dickson called “remarkable” for a parish the size of St. Dunstan’s (about 250 members).

Diocesan Council’s two committees that deal with financial matters–the Administration and Finance Committee and the Grants and Loans Committee–recommended that the diocese now help St. Dunstan’s with its remaining debt of $575,000. They recommended the diocese reissue St. Dunstan’s long-term mortgage loan for that amount, make about $192,000 of it forgivable, and ask the parish to commit to paying off $383,000.

A “forgivable” loan carries no interest and does not have to be paid back so long as a parish remains in good standing in the diocese, and carries out an agreed-upon capital repayment campaign.

St. Dunstan’s forgivable loans are being forgiven at the rate of $20,000 per year, which means the mortgage will still be on the parish’s books till 2027.

In another matter, Diocesan Council endorsed Christ Church Cathedral’s application to be given a National Historic Site designation by the federal government’s Canadian Heritage Ministry.

The designation would bring recognition to the Cathedral’s heritage building, the oldest in the City of Vancouver, which was first completed in 1894 and which has undergone extensive renovations since, the latest in 2006.

It also would complement the Cathedral’s tradition of involvement in the community through service and outreach, said Dean Peter Elliott.