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The Presbyterian Church Building Corporation
  By Betty Kupeian, General Manager, Presbyterian Church Building Corporation
The Presbyterian Church Building Cor- poration, also known as PCBC, is a charitable organization, separate from The Presbyterian Church in Canada. What happens when a congregation comes together with a creative plan to build, modify or expand their existing space, in order to reach into its sur- rounding community? It turns to the PCBC, whose principal purpose is to provide guarantees to Royal Bank for loans for church building projects.
How did PCBC start?
Startup funds were raised from in- dividual Presbyterians, beginning as early as 1957 in B.C., to be used to back guarantees for banks that were nervous to lend to small, new con- gregations. Synod corporations were later established to carry on this
work. PCBC was founded in 1968, from the amalgamation of these Synod corporations. As a result of an overture in 1964 from Alberta, the General Assembly decided to form one national body to consistently continue the work across the coun- try, and in conjunction with our affili- ated corporation in British Columbia (The Presbyterian Extension Fund), we have been doing this ever since.
What are some examples
of how PCBC can help congregations?
PCBC helps with numerous types of loans, including construction of new worship centres, more recently in P.E.I. and Abbotsford; large church renovation projects such as the one currently in progress in Oakville, Ont.; renovation, repair and restoration of our older buildings; assistance with accessibility projects; and, on an ex- ceptional basis, refinancing of exist- ing obligations which were undertak- en for one of the purposes just noted.
Loans are available to congrega- tions of the PCC as well as related entities of the church such as Camps and Theological Colleges.
What is the relationship of PCBC to the Lending Fund? We are responsible for the assess- ment of loans for the church, avail- able through the PCC Lending Fund.
Lending Fund loans are up to $100,000 and are for a 15-year term. They have the major advantage of being interest-free for the first six years of their term and potentially up to 12 years.
PCBC loans are also for a 15-year term, to a maximum of $1,000,000. Loans are granted by Royal Bank and secured by a guarantee from PCBC. Congregations are required to pay a floating rate of interest based on the bank’s prime rate.
It is possible to obtain loans under both programs at the same time to increase the amount available or re- duce interest payable.
Are there other ways
PCBC can help?
About 37 years ago, the General As- sembly asked the PCBC to assist the national church with the needs of a number of retired servants of the church. Since that time, we have acquired a number of houses and apartments across the country and
rented them out at reasonable rates. Additionally, we provide subsidies to a number of others to assist them with their financial requirements. At present, PCBC owns two homes and provides subsidies to seven.
Is there anything else you can tell me about PCBC?
In our interactions with the congre- gations and entities of the church, we have found that there is often a very positive outlook for the future of congregations. This is evidenced by a willingness to take on debt to allow for the improvement of their facilities and to construct new ones or to add additional space. We have found pro- posals we received to be generally very constructive and achievable.
What about buildings in a time of a global pandemic? Currently, physical distancing meas- ures, mandated by local health au- thorities, have necessitated the limited use of all public spaces. This includes church buildings. At the same time congregations continue to maintain and improve their buildings, evidenced by a variety of creative proposals.
Moreover, while we live in the pre-
sent, we also plan for the future. Dur- ing a radically destabilizing time in the history of ancient Israel, when the land was about to be overrun and the people exiled from it, the Word of the Lord comes to the prophet Jeremiah: “Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benja- min, in the places around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah... for I will restore their fortunes, says the Lord” (Jer. 32:44). This Word from the Lord could only be taken on faith.
PCBC began with acts of faithful stewardship and, since 1968, it has approved 241 loan facilities, totalling more than $57 million. Sacred spac- es have remained vital for human communities as places of worship, places enabling us to take time and look within and beyond ourselves in supplication and gratitude. I believe this will continue as we creatively strategize for a post-pandemic time.
At the same time, I am excited to strategize and plan with the corpora- tion, and with visionaries across our denomination, for what God would have us do not only with our sacred spaces, but with creative ministries into the next generation.
  Crieff Hills Retreat Centre and COVID-19
 Submitted by Stephanie Banks, Crieff Hills Retreat Centre
Like so many churches, businesses and community groups, Crieff Hills Retreat Centre in Puslinch, Ont., has been dramatically affected by the pandemic. As The Presbyterian Church in Canada’s only retreat cen- tre, Crieff offers hospitality to con- gregations, national committees, ministers and church leaders. When the COVID-19 crisis began, Crieff was forced to close all programs and accommodations. Although open to individuals and very small groups as of July, the centre faces long-term disruption with bookings down more than 80%. “When the
province told us to close our doors, we were devastated. Welcoming people is at the core of what we do,” said the director, the Rev. Kris- tine O’Brien.
During the month of October, the centre will take to social media and will be writing to presbyteries across the country, asking for help to sus- tain them until 2021. They hope to find support from those who have fond memories of time spent there and those who value the legacy of Presbyterian Col. John Bain Maclean. Maclean was born in the village of Crieff in 1862 while his father was the minister at Knox Presbyterian Church in the community of Crieff. He went on to found Maclean Hunter
Enjoying a meal at Crieff Hills.
Publishing in Toronto, including the Financial Post, Maclean’s magazine and Chatelaine magazine. He bought three adjoining farms and kept them as a vacation property until his death in 1950, when he willed them to The Presbyterian Church in Canada. They have been used as a retreat facility since 1975.
The staff at Crieff works hard to be good stewards of the historic
land and buildings entrusted to them years ago, but keeping several his- toric homes and a barn in good re- pair requires constant upkeep and significant fixed costs. The centre is governed by the Maclean Estate Committee, made up of members appointed by the annual General As- sembly, but it receives no funding from the denomination.
“For forty-five years Crieff Hills has
been a place of sanctuary,” said Kris- tine. “Our mission is to offer beau- tiful space and nourishing food for those seeking rest and renewal. And in these tumultuous times we know that our ministry is more important than ever.”
Those wanting to contribute can visit Tax re- ceipts are offered for donations over $20.

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