With smiles all around, Terrace Foursquare Church held the first Sunday morning service in its new home — Mountlake Terrace Elementary School — on June 9.
Since starting in September 2017, the church had been meeting in the theater of Mountlake Terrace High School. But it made the move to the recently-rebuilt elementary school due to cheaper rental costs and better amenities.
The opportunity to call Mountlake Terrace Elementary home for Sunday morning activities is a godsend, said Terrace Foursquare Pastor Trevor Loya.
“That wasn’t even a choice when we started our church; it’s a brand-new school,” Loya said. “We’re so grateful that they would even allow us to be here. We hope to serve this school really well.”
The church, a plant of Mill Creek Presbyterian Church, draws approximately 70 to 80 adults for its Sunday morning worship service, many of whom are parents of infants to high schoolers that now have real classrooms to meet in for age-specific activities.
“What has been the best thing that we’ve been doing is our kids ministry — and we’ve been doing it in hallways,” Loya noted. “We’re so grateful for Mountlake Terrace High School, but the hallways were a difficult situation.”
“So the new classrooms (at MLT Elementary) are beautiful and they’re awesome to have,” Loya continued. “It’s way more of a better learning environment, mixed with some fun.”
The church is using the school’s Commons area for its Sunday morning worship service as the room includes a small stage and space for rows of folding chairs and sound equipment. It’s a far cry from the 411-seat high school theater that had been the church’s previous home.
“So that intimacy of having this instead of the big auditorium with about 70-plus adults – it just feels cozier, more intimate,” Loya said.
While happy to be in its new location now, Loya does see how the young church benefited from its first 20 months at Mountlake Terrace High School.
“We learned a lot of things being at that school — what we like and what we don’t like for us,” Loya explained. “When you start a church you don’t know what you will be. You don’t know who’s going to come, who’s going to stick around and what God’s going to really anoint as something we really do well.”
“So as we did that we learned things about who we are as a forging community; we (began) thinking, ‘this might be the space,’” Loya stated.
The church will take advantage of another benefit of being at Mountlake Terrace Elementary School as plans are in the works for outdoor, family-style barbeques after some Sunday morning services — the first on June 23.
— By Doug Petrowski