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Spirits glow as church rises from ashes

Rev. Mark McLean stands in front of the new Central Kitsap Church of Christ on Wednesday. It will be officially dedicated in services on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 11898 Central Valley Road.  - Photo by Kelly Everett
Rev. Mark McLean stands in front of the new Central Kitsap Church of Christ on Wednesday. It will be officially dedicated in services on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 11898 Central Valley Road.
— image credit: Photo by Kelly Everett

No one could figure out what started it. No flammables were found, which would have indicated arson. No hazards were found anywhere.

The minister just arrived at work one day to see the church reduced to a charred ruin. He and the congregation were left wondering “What happened?”

This was March 13, 2001.

Since then the congregation and minister put it behind them, and started to rebuild. The new and improved Central Kitsap Church of Christ is finished and will open officially Sunday, Dec. 14, 2:30 p.m.

“The fire was a little less than three years ago. The 4,000-square-foot auditorium burned. Office and preschool roofs were burned off — it was totaled as far as insurance was concerned,” said Rev. Mark McLean. “Even the FBI paid us a visit because of all the black churches being hit at the time. They were checking all church fires of ‘unknown’ causes.”

It’s still unknown, he said. It cost about $1.25 million to rebuild.

“We left the old slab alone, and use it for parking today,” he said. The new building is bigger and better than the old. The minister and his 200-plus flock had a soft opening Nov. 9. This Sunday, the church will have a full schedule in addition to the official celebration of the new church.

The worship center at 11898 Central Valley Road will hold Bible class at 9:30 a.m., worship service 10:45-noon, a fellowship potluck at 12:15 p.m., dedication at 2:30 p.m., punch and cake reception at 3:30 p.m., and singing celebration 4:15-5 p.m. For information, call (360) 692-4900, or contact ckchurchofchrist.org.

The church was founded in 1981. McLean became minister in 1989. He explained the church’s philosophy:

“We (in the Churches of Christ) are part of a restoration movement to return churches to Christians — just plain Christians.”

The church is essentially non-denominational. Anyone can join, so long as they follow Christ and the Bible. “We’re trying to simplify things” for believers in a complex age, he said.

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