Cheney Free Press -

 
 

By JAMES EIK
Staff Reporter 

After vandalism, church is back in its sanctuary

 

James Eik

The sanctuary at Lake City Assembly of God received some heavy renovation after it was vandalized earlier this year.

In January, the Lake City Assembly of God church in Medical Lake was vandalized, with damage strewn throughout the building.

The church banded together to make repairs and get back into the sanctuary as quickly as possible. Now about half a year after the incident, the church is back to having services in its sanctuary and there are only a few loose ends to tie up before calling the renovation complete.

Pastor Nick Hawkins said there was about $130,000 in damage when everything was factored in. Glass shards embedded in the carpet meant it needed to be replaced throughout the building, sound equipment and broken windows were also replaced in the repair process. He said the building was overdue for some renovations, after its 1970s construction, and church members seized the opportunity to make some upgrades.

Among the upgrades include increased handicap accessibility throughout the building and some electrical work as well as some painting. A new security system is in the works, as well as improved lighting on the exterior of the church.

Hawkins said all that remains are just a few final touches, ending a long period of work.

“We still have some finish work still left to be done,” he said.

Visitors to the church can see wood from the old pews that has been repurposed in some of the building’s interior trim. One couple from the congregation is working on refurbishing the church’s communion table which will sit at the back of the sanctuary once completed.

Hawkins was quick to thank the community for coming together and help with the building’s repairs. While there are a wide array of skills in the congregation, several workers donated their time and servicemen from Fairchild Air Force Base contributed to the repair efforts.

Joseph Knop, 23, was arrested on burglary and malicious mischief charges two days after the crime took place. Hawkins said he spoke with Knop, who admitted he doesn’t have much recollection of that night’s events while under the influence of methamphetamine. Although Knop is already in recovery classes and programs, the church leadership has offered him support in his recovery effort.

“He’s really starting to head down a different path,” Hawkins said.

Damage from the vandalism essentially stripped the church of any interior items, pushing services downstairs into the gymnasium.

“You’re basically down to concrete and walls,” Hawkins said. “That’s where we were.”

With a good number of people on vacation throughout the summer, the congregation will come together in the fall to celebrate the church’s 80th anniversary in Medical Lake.

“We look back and go, ‘Man, what a year,’” he said with a laugh.

There has been a bright side, though, to what happened a few months ago: focus.

“I think it’s helped us refocus. When a church is in a community for that long, you become a little more concerned about what’s happening inside here than what you’re really here to do,” Hawkins said.

The past half year has been a busy one for the church, but the end result has strengthened its message and convictions.

“We’re not down and out, we’re here in the community and we’re here to love people; people like Joe,” Hawkins said. “There’s a reason we’re built on Grace Street.”

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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