By Brandon HENSLEY
It has been a rocky road for Christian Life Church the past four and a half years, but now some light is starting to show through with the recent news that the church is on its way to rebuilding.
Pastor Randy Foster said this week that his church has submitted plans for a new church building and that they were well received.
“[The plans are a] scaled down version of what we presented before,” said Foster. “It doesn’t have the full basement underneath it.”
In December of 2006, a fire burned down the church, located on the corner of Montrose and Ramsdell avenues. The place has been a vacant lot since. Then the church’s pastor Tim Manchester left La Crescenta last year to move to Texas.
That’s when Foster, who has ministered in Orange County, stepped in last fall with his family to try and fix things.
Next week, he will meet with the city of Glendale’s Design Review Board to go over the building plans some more. He said he hopes to break ground before the end of this year.
“I’d rather err on the side of optimism,” he said.
What used to be a large square patch of dirt where the church used to stand is now covered in green grass, aided by sprinklers, so visual improvements are taking place.
For now, the congregation meets in classrooms in the back of the property every weekend.
Foster said the congregation is small, but that there are 20 to 30 members who have been going to Christian Life Church for decades and that one fire isn’t going to scare them away.
The church is trying to grow, but it’s a Catch-22 to Foster: “My comment to the congregation in January was, ‘We need to build to grow and we need to grow to build,’” he said.
Community outreach has been important to Foster. The church has given supplies and books to La Crescenta Elementary School and has partnered with the CV Chamber of Commerce for other programs.
There used to be a preschool and elementary school on the lot as well, since ruined by the fire. The church doesn’t have plans to bring it back.
“We’re focused on the church and helping schools in the area. I’d rather use the resources to help the local schools.”
What Foster wants La Crescenta to know is that the church, for all of its uncertainties, is still here.
“The main thing is we’re alive and well,” he said. “We’re coming back. We believe it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of time.”