(UPDATED SEPT 29, 2015) Well, 2015 is proving to be an important and pivotal year in the life of Gateway. The leadership team has spent many months reviewing, considering, calculating, and praying about a church building for sale in Oshawa. The District has approved the purchase. The church congregation has voted. OUR NEW HOME IS LOCATED AT 470 Ritson Road S.
There were many different factors to consider with this type of an opportunity, including finances, location, public visibility, our mission, and our ministries. Here is a quick and simple review of each of these:
FINANCES | This church building was originally listed for $689,000. Then it was reduced to $639,999. Then it was reduced to $599,999. After many tours, inspections, and discussions with our real estate agent, we decided to place a conditional offer for $570,000, which would also include all the furniture (think comfy chairs), equipment, office items, etc. The sellers accepted our offer. We currently have approximately $400,000 in our building fund. We would make a $300,000 down payment, keeping $100,000 aside for closing costs, initial improvements/upgrades, and wheel-chair accessibility installation. There is a 2-bedroom apartment at the back of the church which brings in $1,025 per month. This amount happens to cover the monthly utilities' cost. Our monthly operating costs with a mortgage would be about the same as we are paying now in rent (both at ICS & Whitby Free Methodist).
LOCATION | The church building is in Oshawa, north of the 401, south of Hwy 2. For members of Gateway who live west of Whitby, the distance will be greater than what they currently drive. The travel time, however, might be the same or shorter than current commuting times. Because the church building is so close to the 401, many can just jump on the highway, get off at Ritson Road, and the church is right there. Some might ask why we aren't holding out for a church facility in Whitby. The answer is simple: we cannot afford a property in Whitby. At best, we could purchase a very small property, which has no building on it - and even still, it is hard to find vacant land for the price will be paying for 470 Ritson Road s. We can't have church on vacant land. We would then have to undergo another multi-year fundraising campaign in order to break the ground and begin building. We could be looking at another 15 years before we would have a roof over our heads. Oshawa is not only affordable, it is also an incredible opportunity for Gateway to bring their ministries to the community. To open their doors. We are excited about the opportunities that we will have.
PUBLIC VISIBILITY | This building is in an area with very heavy traffic. Because of its proximity to the 401, commuters pass the church twice daily. It is across from a plaza with a McDonalds. It is very visible.
MISSION | Gateway's mission is to "Make Christlike disciples in Durham and beyond." Our mission will not change.
OUR MINISTRIES | Gateway has never had the benefit of a 'home base' for its various ministries. Whether they are internal ministries, or community outreach ministries, this building will only serve to help us. One of the few drawbacks is that our youth group will be losing a gymnasium. Although there is a hall in the lower level, there is no gymnasium. We would have to either rent or borrow gymnasiums from schools or other churches when needed. It is important that Gateway not lose focus, in fact it is imperitive that we purposely refocus our attention to our ministries in light of this church purchase.