Ceremony marks renovations in 125th year of Port Angeles building
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Mike Jones, left, pastor of Independent Bible Church, speaks about the history of the former church building that now houses the Serenity House Thrift Store during a celebration of the structure’s 125th anniversary Saturday in Port Angeles. Looking on is Richard Stephens, the thrift store manager.
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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An old-fashioned picnic — sparsely attended in foggy weather that didn't break until early afternoon — followed at Webster Park at Third and Eunice streets with lemonade, ice cream, music and games.
“We're gathered here to say thank you,” Richard Stephens, manager of the Serenity House of Clallam County Thrift Store that inhabits the 125-year-old church building, told the group gathered in the parking lot of the thrift store at the intersection of First and Vine streets.
He referred to the donations that made renovations possible.
The roof renovations, completed by EarthTech Construction, are part of a $55,000 effort to revitalize the building.
“A lot of things have come and gone, but this building has not,” Deputy Port Angeles Mayor Brad Collins said.
Collins recently retired as Serenity House's deputy director for resource development and capital projects, and was involved in fundraising for the project.
“When I went out to find the money to get that roof back on, it was an easy job,” Collins said.
“They opened their checkbooks and said, 'Here.'”
At the celebration, Collins thanked nearly all the numerous donors, which included Green Crow, a Port Angeles forest products company; Lighthouse Christian Center; First Presbyterian Church; Independent Bible Church; and several other locally owned businesses.
More upgrades to come
The renovation efforts are about halfway through, Collins said, with a new paint job for the building to be done and a new front porch and doors still to be installed.
The first church service at the building was held March 24, 1889, said Alice Alexander of the Clallam County Historical Society.
The church was established by eight members of the Puget Sound Cooperative Colony, founded near the mouth of Ennis Creek, to serve some of the first residents of the area, Alexander explained.
The congregational church that established the building in 1889 changed its name to Independent Bible Church in 1937, which sold the building in 1975 to move to a larger space on Lincoln Street.
Pastor Mike Jones of Independent Bible Church said he was the final pastor to preach at the old church building.
He preached there for 38 years, longer than any other pastor.
Jones said he was glad to see that despite the building's varied owners, the same sense of caring for one's neighbors that inspired the construction of the building in the first place is still found there today.
“That same spirit is still within the building,” Jones said, referring to the Serenity House Thrift Store mission to serve the city's low-income and homeless populations.
“And that same spirit still abides in our own community.”
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 14. 2013 4:50PM