I’m very thankful for my friend Tim Challies for many reasons (on personal, church, and global-internet levels). Today I’m thankful for him taking up our cause on his blog.
Over the past couple of weeks our church has been thrust into a very difficult situation as the Toronto District School Board has raised our rent in unethical, discriminatory, unwarranted, and unforeseen ways. Since our church meets weekly in the gymnasium of a public school for now — but can no longer afford to go on doing so — we are scrambling to find a place to meet that will accommodate us.
Today on his blog, Tim writes about the larger issue affecting not just us but all churches who rent space from the TDSB.
Toronto is a city of 2.6 million where churches are small and real estate is costly. For this reason many churches meet in gymnasiums and cafeterias they rent from the Toronto District School Board. But now, very suddenly, theTDSB has taken action to get churches out of its schools. At the end of August each of these organizations was notified that they would face an imminent increase in rental fees. The next day they learned that this increase would range from 140% to 800% and that it would begin to go in effect in just four days. Unless the Board can be convinced to change course, they will effectively drive hundreds of churches from its nearly 600 schools.
I’m praying our Sovereign Lord would somehow put this blog post on to the screens of the right people with the right connections in the right places so that somehow we would be able to go on renting this publicly owned and taxpayer funded facility at a fair price.
In his article, Tim gives suggestions on courses of action for you if you’re a Torontonian or Ontarian. Can I encourage you to please consider acting on those? Add your voice to ours! If you’re not from around here, please pray for us and for the other churches in our situation.
If you happen to be from Toronto and know of suitable alternatives for us so that we can continue to meet corporately for worship, please feel free to leave suggestions! We’re welcoming all ideas and contacts at this point.