Olympia Church Includes Community in Grand Re-opening

Members of the Olympia, Wash., Church, recently shared their joy with the community, inviting neighbors and friends to celebrate the restoration of their Feb. 28, 2001, earthquake-damaged facility.

In the first of three events, members hosted an Open House, on Labor Day. Guides gave tours of the facility and appetizing food was served, amid carnival-type attractions for children, arranged for on the church’s front lawn by Jim Bowman.

Then, on Sept. 7, the Sabbath worship service focused on the church’s journey from earthquake damage to complete renovation. Members praised God for sending so many workers to help with the project, and all were encouraged to rededicate themselves to personal and church growth and outreach to friends and neighbors.

Jere Patzer, North Pacific Union Conference president, challenged members to return to their roots and recapture the Church’s high ideals.

He recounted God’s blessings, as evidenced by the rapid growth of the worldwide Church in recent years to 12.5 million members.

Then, in a well-attended event especially intended for the community, Olympia members hosted a Hope for the Homeland Prayer Service, Sept. 11, on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the nation.

Members honored uniformed representatives of the military, paramedics, firefighters, and police. Bill McCord, a friend of the church, played “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes, and Tom Vatne sang two songs about 9/11.

With heartfelt thanks, the congregation encircled, laid hands on, and prayed for the men in uniform, including in that prayer those who lead the nation and give of themselves daily for the its safety.

Several visitors expressed appreciation for the service and the invitations to attend it.

“It is such a joy to reach our community with the love of the Father,” said Pastor Tom Decker.

“Our church has, in the past, focused too much on self and internal strife, and it is gratifying to see us reaching out and beyond ourselves to others.”

Featured in: December 2002