Changes ahead for United Church in Central Saanich

Former Brentwood Bay church to become condos as Shady Creek congregation looks to the future.

The closing of Brentwood Bay United Church will see new condo developments taking its place.

The closing of Brentwood Bay United Church along West Saanich Road will see new opportunities for change at Shady Creek United Church.

A closing service was held at the Brentwood Bay Church on June 10 to allow its members to bid their final farewell.

Those members who attended the Brentwood Bay church can still attend what is now called Shady Creek Brentwood Bay United Church (at the Shady Creek location).

Minister David Drake, who came  to Brentwood Bay in February said the two church congregations have been getting along well.

“The transition is sort of natural but it’s always difficult when people have been used to a certain way of being,” he told the PNR.

What was Brentwood Bay United is now in the hands of the Marker Group, a local development company, which Drake said is planning multi-storey condos with commercial space on the main floor.

Drake said the number of people who are attending church is still not great. His job, he said, will involve helping the congregation shift gears and try to become more sustainable. He said they will be sorting out a new direction and look for some major change.

“We’re not living in a church culture anymore so it’s hard for some of these folks to see how change might happen …” he said. “Certainly the issue there is around young families, because there really are no young families.”

Part of that change will likely be looking at some church consulting organizations to help them with what it is they wish to do and how they will build on that.

“The building out at Shady Creek is limiting just by itself so we know that there’s going to have to be some changes there just to modernize …” said Drake.

“We have pulled together what we call a strategic planning and development committee and we’re looking at all different kinds of aspects.”

One of the things they’re looking at right now — and they have formed a sub-group — is the legal name of the church, as it is two churches serving together as one (Brentwood Bay Shady Creek United Church).

They are looking at calling it Shady Creek Brentwood Bay United Church.

Beginning Sept. 8 and carrying on throughout the fall, the church will have a book club discussion called Thursday Thinkers in the Central Saanich Cultural Centre.

Services at Shady Creek Brentwood Bay United Church (7180 East Saanich Road) take place Sundays at 10:15 a.m.