Editor, The News:
Re: More churches need to help (Letters, Feb. 15).
I am somewhat taken aback but the comments made by Sandy Macdougall.
To state that churches do not pay property taxes to Maple Ridge is an inaccurate, or at best, misleading statement.
Although the actual church building, and the land it sits on, are exempt from property taxes, each year, as a treasurer, I write a cheque to the district for property taxes on other lands and buildings that the church owns.
Our church provides Christian education, religious guidance, counselling and teaching on a weekly basis without regards to race, creed, gender or other religious affiliations.
We participate in presenting world-wide programs in the meaning of Christianity.
We provide pastoral care to shut-ins and those in palliative care.
We donate funds to denomination headquarters for local and overseas mission and service activities, partnering with other churches in times of dire need, such as the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Japan.
We are presently discussing ways we can assist the homeless youth in the community.
Each edition of The News details local events of thefts, assaults, robberies. Mr. Macdougall should realize that spiritually-minded persons of all ages are demonstrating stability, happiness and usefulness not practiced by the criminal element of Maple Ridge and surrounding areas.
If we could be accused of anything, it would be that we are not as successful in convincing more people of the good that churches do.
Yes, we rent out the basement for a pre-school. The rent is substantially less than could be obtained in town. Parents have a safe place, close to their home, where their young children can be educated.
Is this not a benefit to the community?
We do take our social responsibility seriously, but I wish to point out that money that comes in on a Sunday is from donations. We don’t have the luxury of calculating what the service costs, add in a comfortable profit margin and charge accordingly.
Building insurance, internet access, telephone, hydro, are all billed on business rates.
When our building is vandalized it is usually members of the church who paint over graffiti, repair broken windows, and destroyed railings, since the insurance deductible is based on a commercial venture.
If anyone questions what benefit we provide to the community, please visit us on a Sunday from 10 to 11 a.m. and learn more about what we do. We’ll even invite you downstairs to share fellowship, coffee and food after the service. All at no cost to you.
Rick Wright, treasurer
Webster’s Whonnock United Church