HERMISTON - Trinity Lutheran Church members began a capital building campaign by placing their faith in God.

"Christ is the heart of it; faith is the start of it; love is a part of it; building to serve," was the motivation and how the congregation got their building done, said the Rev. Paul Gross of Trinity.

The 9,000-square-foot building is completed and ready for the dedication at 10 a.m. Sunday, next door to the sanctuary at 485 W. Locust Ave.

The Rev. Paul Swanson, Oregon Synod Bishop, will preach and perform the dedication. The Rev. Bruce Jenkins, former pastor at Trinity, will return for the service. He was serving Trinity when the building campaign and construction began.

The new building houses a large fellowship hall, a commercial kitchen, classrooms, a senior meeting room, reception office, pastor's office and large storage areas. The fellowship hall has a large fireplace as the focal point, designed by David Bothum of Bothum Construction and constructed by Bothum and Joe Deutz. The funding for the fireplace was donated by three families of the congregation. The funding for the commercial kitchen was donated by another church member, said Theresa Betz of the church.

"It is a chef's delight," Betz said.

"The kitchen was much more than I anticipated," said Dr. Marvin John of the church. "And obviously was helped by a very generous gift from a member."

The women's study group donated all of the linens for the church. Many other members of the church donated items, labor, skills and support for the project.

The building was constructed with the congregation acting as its own general contractor with the help of Mission Builders. Six couples at a time came from all over the country and acted as the construction crew, Gross said.

"They gift their talents to build throughout the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in America," Gross said.

Eleven couples in all came to help at the Hermiston site. After dedication every morning, the men performed much of the hard labor and the wives offered support, Gross said. The Mission Builders also donated toward the table and chairs for the fellowship hall.

The congregation took turns providing two snacks and three large meals daily during the week, Betz said.

The congregation also partnered with Mission Builders for constructing, by giving gifts of money, volunteer labor and time.

"Dr. John was here with his knee pads on all the time," Gross said.

After the framing by the Mission Builders, it was up to the congregation to sub-contract and coordinate contractors and volunteers.

"Glenn Youngman was instrumental in the completion process of the building," Gross said.

The vision of Trinity is for a building not only for its own use, but for the community. We are not to the point of fruition yet, but the plan is to offer the use of the building to different programs in the community for groups and meetings, Gross said.

"We have a great facility for wedding receptions," Betz said. "The sound system in the main church and remote video are connected to the new building."

The dedication will be the first time the congregation has been fully invited into the new building.

"We will have a celebration and big worship to thank God," Gross said. "It is a big thing to have Bishop Swanson here. Some of the Mission Builder couples will be here too."

Sheila Cozad is spearheading the brunch following the dedication with the congregation providing the food, Betz said.

"We've been overwhelmed and amazed with generosity of the congregation," John said. "After the capitol campaign everyone came through with furnishings and more."

Contact Carol Marcum at (800) 522-0255 ext. 306 or by e-mail at cmarcum@eastoregonian.com.

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