By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The siding work under way at the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene is no mere renovation project.
It’s another milestone in a project that dates back more than 6 1/2 years and has created homes for six more families.
While some West Seattle churches have sold their sites and moved or closed, this one was determined to find a way to stay and continue serving this community. To do that, they needed to fix up their century-old building, not only an eyesore from the outside, but deteriorating on the inside. With a double-digit congregation, they didn’t have deep pockets to dig into. So they came up with a plan we first wrote about in September 2013 – raise money by developing and selling six townhouses on part of church-owned open space known as “the park.”
After a complex process that included partnering with local developer Joe Paar and getting the land rezoned (before HALA MHA upzoned the area anyway), the townhouses are built – and sold – and the church renovations are under way, so we asked Church of the Nazarene pastor Shaun Mattson and associate pastor Terry Mattson to talk with us for an update.
The siding is not the first work to be done. They began with the parsonage – the small house south of the main building, where they live. “We never intended to be general contractors,” Shaun recalled, but working on the parsonage first gave them some experience, “to learn all the things we needed to know.” After new roofing, siding, windows, and interior renovations, they finished last fall, and moved on to the main church building.
Heating and electrical work was a major focus – the latter being in the elder Mattson’s wheelhouse, as he has experience working as an electrician. “It’s a new building, in terms of the electrical (system).”
A heat pump replaced the old oil-burning setup. Other work included a third-floor multipurpose room that can even be used as lodging for visitors on missions. There’s also the space they’ve been offering as a free drop-in playspace as part of their ministering to the community as a whole.
And the basement gathering space and kitchen have seen some work too.
On the exterior, the siding work started earlier this month and should take about three months total.
They were still evaluating paint colors when we spoke; an artist who has a studio at the church has been among the many people with a role in the project. And while the townhouses are built and almost all occupied – “we love our neighbors!” – there’s still some work to be done.
Much of that will include visual clarification of what remains “the park” – some lighting, some signage, a bench. And this summer, for the first time in a few years, the church plans to resume outdoor movies, another community ministry, as it were. For now, their portable screen is in the sanctuary:
Also inside, work that’s yet to be done includes the sanctuary’s windows – that will take another year or so.
But it wasn’t all talk of work – they voiced a lot of gratitude, especially to the wider community who welcomed the project and the plan to fix up the church: “This is theirs, too.”