by Kathy Marson
Post Falls, Idaho, Nov. 14, 2013 - Summit Northwest Ministries recently made a transition from their rented church in Newman Lake to their purchased and remodeled theater in Post Falls, Idaho. Their opening service held on Nov. 9 was just two days after they had received their occupancy permit.
Over 350 people came, which is double their attendance, for the worship time, even with no advertising. Since the worship center has 209 fixed seats, some people left and others stayed to enjoy the service from a nearby room. The highlight of the day was the baptism of two of their youth, Thomas Tiffany and Angel Pugh who are cousins. Also during the service they were presented with $50,000 from Jimmy Johnson representing the Upper Columbia Conference.
The journey from Newman Lake to Post Falls, through the blessing of God, was a successful, but long journey. Ron Hessel reminded the congregation, “We built and remodeled this building to be a solitary place where we can connect with God so that we can take His love into our community, not to just stay and enjoy the new facility.” He use the biblical passage from Luke 3 and 4 about Jesus' activity in the early part of his ministry, and how he withdrew to a solitary place to connect with God in order to go out and love the people.
The ministry began in the summer of 2004 utilizing space in the Post Falls Outlet Mall. Then they moved to the Newman Lake site in the fall of 2007. As they outgrew this building they looked for a larger place to accommodate growth. When they discovered the Post Falls Theater was up for sale they made an offer in January of 2010. This was rejected. A year and a half later they were asked to make another offer. After several negotiations an offer was accepted for less than their initial offer, and they finalized the purchase in January of 2012
Then they began developing plans and applying for permits. Construction and demolition began in April of 2012. The theater consisted of six theaters and an upstairs projection hall. Two of the theaters will eventually be the Worship Center. Their opening Sabbath utilized just one of the rooms which held 209. They plan to tear down a dividing wall and expand the Worship Center to hold 400 once they raise more funds.
Remodeling has been a huge undertaking with 500,000 lbs. of gravel, plus concrete, needed to level four of the theaters to make a fellowship hall and classroom space. In spite of this, a financial analysis shows that after the remodel is complete, they will have spent about half of what it would cost to build a structure of this size.
Other items still to complete include the kitchen, some roof repair, multimedia development and the expansion of the Worship Center.