Letter: Church tax exemption reaps rewards for Kelowna

Everyday we are influencing hundreds of families to be positive contributors to the place we are blessed to live.

Open letter to the mayor and Kelowna city council:

On behalf of the 1,700 plus people who call Kelowna Gospel Fellowship Church (KGF) home, I want to say thank you for the contribution the City of Kelowna makes in the form of a not-for profit property tax exemption. For our church family, this means a benefit of $4,242 in 2017, and I can assure you this does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

As part of this amazing community since 1960, KGF is a family of like-minded people that desires to have a positive impact wherever we go. We support many amazing organizations in our community with resources and volunteers. We just wrapped up a project to renovate 13 washrooms in five homes at Freedom’s Door, with $15,000 donated from KGF, an equal amount donated as gifts in kind, and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor.

One of our partners, the Kelowna Gospel Mission, was just using our facility recently for a professional development day for their staff team, a wonderful chance to get off-campus and be renewed and equipped for their important work.

Our next campaign is Operation Christmas Child, raising 700 shoeboxes filled with Christmas presents for kids around the world who would otherwise not get a gift. We are also working with Mennonite Central Committee to sponsor a Syrian refugee family in need of a safe new home and new start in Canada.

Everyday we are influencing hundreds of families to be positive contributors to the place we are blessed to live. We just hosted a free evening workshop with one of the top parenting speakers, Dr. Marv Penner, attended by more than 100 individuals. Seniors have a family to walk with so they aren’t alone. High schoolers are taught to live beyond themselves. Young adults discover they can be a catalyst for good. Marriage mentoring and counseling are among many other areas where we work to build healthy, contributing members of society.

Your support of Kelowna churches this coming year is $280,698, but I am convinced that the return on investment is ten-fold. The pastors and leaders who I work with are constantly looking for ways to strengthen and pour into this amazing city. We also want to be partners where and when needed by the city, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

At our Thanksgiving display this year, we had a phrase front and centre: Gratitude Changes Everything. We believe that to be true, which is why we want to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for your leadership and love for this city. We are for you and pray for you. What you are doing matters, so keep going! God bless.

Mike Penninga, senior pastor, Kelowna Gospel Fellowship Church

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