Letter: Tax exemptions help community

Church pastor says Kelowna’s partnership with non-profits helps to build community

To Kelowna Mayor and Council:

There is a story in the Bible that I think of often. It’s the time Jesus healed 10 men from a terrible disease of leprosy. Only one of those 10 paused to come back and thank Jesus for changing his life (Luke 17). I have always wanted to be among those who remember to say thanks.

To be clear, you have not cured me of a horrible skin disease (that isn’t my need right now) but you have continued to partner with our church family and many other worthy non-profit organizations to serve in our community through the benefit of a Municipal Tax Exemption.

This year that figure represents $4,769 for Kelowna Gospel Fellowship (KGF) Church at the corner of Gordon and Casorso. As the Senior Pastor at KGF for eight years now, I want to thank you for trusting us to add significant value to our community through the programs and services we provide. Our church family now represents more than 2,200 people.

These are individuals who we walk with in all aspects of life, from birth to death, job loss to promotion, parenting challenges to senior needs, young adults to early retirees. I love that hundreds of our family members contribute thousands of volunteer hours through KGF and beyond into our community. We are proud of the good work that is being done on so many levels that benefits our city and its residents.

Our partnerships in Kelowna include Freedom’s Door Men’s Recovery Home, the Kelowna Gospel Mission, and the Pregnancy Care Centre. We welcomed a Syrian refugee family in June, and another family coming in 2018. We are the collection depot for all shoeboxes in Operation Christmas Child this year (launched on Thanksgiving Sunday). Nearly 5,000 shoeboxes will be packed in the Central Okanagan and shipped to kids around the world who otherwise would not receive a gift. We partner with Child Sponsorship Organizations, Disaster Relief Agencies, and more.

All that happens from our facility at the corner of Gordon & Casorso. When it was built in 1978 (nearly 40 years ago) KGF was seen to be on the outskirts of Kelowna. It’s amazing how the city has grown, and the work of our church with it.

On behalf of our board, staff, and congregation at KGF, we want you to say thank you. Know that we pray for you in leadership of our amazing city. We want to partner where we can, and be a resource you can count on. Keep going. We love where we live and what we get to be part of in Kelowna.

Mike Penninga, Senior Pastor Kelowna Gospel Fellowship Church

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