A Kelowna church will get a new name as well as a new building in 2015.
St. Paul's United Church on Lakeshore Road is to be rechristened as St. Paul's Arts and Worship Centre.
The planned dropping of the words "United" and "Church" better reflects the congregation's spiritual mission to connect with the wider community, Rev. Richard Chung says.
"Church is not just a building; it's so much more than that," Chung said Wednesday. "The idea of church as referring to a structure is not scriptural at all.
"We often say we are 'going to church' as if we're going to see God who lives in that building," Chung said. "But of course God is everywhere. The new name reflects our vision and mission of reaching out to the community."
Kelowna city council this week gave first reading approval to the zoning changes that are necessary to accommodate a dramatic, $20-million redevelopment of the 0.6-hectare property St. Paul's owns at the corner of Lakeshore and KLO Road.
Plans call for a four-storey building that includes a mix of ground-floor retail premises, professional offices, and 22 residential suites on the third and fourth floors.
Marketing of the available space will now begin in earnest, Chung said, with demolition of the existing church planned for late winter or early spring.
After the building comes down, the 350-member congregation will begin worshipping in the Seventh Day Adventist church on Springfield Road until the 20,000-square-foot, three-level St. Paul's Arts and Worship Centre is ready for occupancy in 2015 inside the new development.
It will have a 240-seat theatre, rooftop chapel, and community space for art exhibits and cultural events. Chung says inspiration will be drawn from the Rotary Centre for the Arts in terms of making facilities open and welcoming to local artists.
Instead of being regarded as a landmark, he says, a church should be thought of as a "soundmark," or a gathering of people in worship and fellowship whose activities and beliefs resonate through the wider community.