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Church of the Nazarene hopes to pay for new building with sale of east Vancouver land

By , Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith
2 Photos
Fourth Plain Church of the Nazarene pictured on an overcast Friday morning, October 23, 2020.
Fourth Plain Church of the Nazarene pictured on an overcast Friday morning, October 23, 2020. (Joshua Hart/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Fourth Plain Church of the Nazarene looks to partner with a developer to build a 30-home subdivision on its property in east Vancouver.

Building committee chairman Rodney Soft emphasized that the Christian church isn’t trying to become a developer. The end goal is a new sanctuary, but financing such a project is difficult.

So, Fourth Plain Church of the Nazarene is using what it has: land. The church started with about 15 acres and sold 7 acres. With those proceeds, it bought about 8 acres just east of the church. It looks to sell a few more acres and partner with a developer to maximize the land’s value.

“We’re definitely not doing building,” Soft said.

A pre-application submitted to the city of Vancouver outlines a three-phase development where 30 single-family homes are constructed, then a 20,000-square-foot church and then 13 additional lots with single-family and live/work units. PBS Engineering and Environmental drew up the plans.

Soft said the church would like to build a bigger facility to keep worshippers and Sunday school children in the same building rather than separate ones.

There are also accessibility challenges in the current building such as a steep, narrow stairway down to the fellowship hall. It can’t accommodate large events such as visiting choirs. (Right now, it’s holding a combination of indoor and parking lot services due to COVID-19 precautions against large group gatherings.)

“The facility has some challenges that we have to deal with,” Soft said.

The main building at 16807 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd. was constructed in 1930, the school in 1980 and a house on-site was built in 1974. Soft heard that back in the day congregants used to ride horses to the rural church. Now, the county is growing up around it with busy Northeast 162nd Avenue just to the west.

Marlene Laddusaw, the church’s board secretary, described Fourth Plain Church of the Nazarene as a small but active church with about 150 to 200 churchgoers.

“We’re excited and really blessed to be able to use the property we have to build a new church,” Laddusaw said. “It’s new territory, but I think we’re up to the challenge.”

She sees the project as an opportunity to reach more people.

Soft said the church has been sitting on the land for a while, the previous lead pastor having dismissed the idea of selling land. But the conversation about selling land started back up a couple of years ago and — with the help of churchgoers who work in real estate — Soft said they hope to “maximize what the Lord provided to the church.”

He imagines it’ll be a couple of years before breaking ground on anything.

Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith