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Church plant buys community movie house

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Surrey, B.C.

A Crossridge service inside the Clova Theatre. Photo: Jackson Ko

A Crossridge service inside the Clova Theatre.
Photo: Jackson Ko

A young church plant now owns the movie theatre it had been renting in Surrey, B.C. Crossridge Church started in Surrey’s Cloverdale community in 2010, opening formally in the historic Clova Theatre in fall 2011.

Lead pastor Lee Francois moved from serving on the pastoral staff of Burnaby’s Willingdon Church when he and his wife, Ilona, sensed a call to start a church in Cloverdale. It was quite a contrast, but the move was assisted by Church Planting BC (now C2C Network). Two other Willingdon pastors, Andy Frew and Rebecca Withrow, joined Francois in the new venture.

The new little church in the rented movie house grew quickly. Crossridge went to two Sunday services last September, and Francois says growth has been steady.

When Crossridge started, Francois says, the Clova had been up for sale. As the church grew, the thought of purchasing the building became more attractive, and the church started to work on a down payment. Willingdon helped with a gift, says Francois, and so did two individual donors.

Clova Cinema’s movies will play into the summer, then end as renovations begin. The theatre will wrap up a long run first started with a community subscription drive in 1944.

For Crossridge, the story got better when the owner of the Cloverdale Learning Centre building, rented by the church for Sunday school and youth activities, also decided to sell. And Crossridge found a way to buy.

So the church team is praying about how its newly acquired facilities – particularly the theatre – may be utilized within the community outside of service times. Francois says Crossridge reaches out to the community in many ways and wants to be a blessing to Cloverdale; uses for the buildings are important in that context.

Church staff continue to rent offices nearby.

—Barrie McMaster, B.C. correspondent

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