Chasing a Dream Filipino-American Church Debt-free in West Seattle

For a church group that began in the early 1980s as a branch Sabbath School and later organized as a group of 38 associated with the Volunteer Park Church, it was a step of faith 15 years ago to create a Filipino-American church in Seattle with a membership of 200.

"I am a bona fide American citizen, but I am a truly-blooded Filipino," said Lowell Teves, pastor of the congregation. "I am also a dream chaser."

The entire congregation—in fact—are dream chasers. Just two years after launching the plan, the company was officially organized as a 120-member church. With church growth blossoming, it was time to find a bigger home.

In October 1999, church members discovered a possible West Seattle location—a Methodist church valued at $760,000. On Dec. 7, 1999, the Western Washington Corporation Board prequalified the church for a $500,000 loan—the same amount the Methodist board had approved if the ministry in financial difficulty would pay $500,000 and close before the end of the year. The offer was accepted Christmas Eve, and the church family received the news the following day.

One requirement for borrowing from the North Pacific Union's revolving fund is to have 50 percent of the purchase price in hand. The church only had $220,000 in its building fund, but by the Monday after Christmas, the final $30,000 was available.

Monies were sent overnight from the union to be submitted with a cashier's check to escrow on Wednesday so they could close on Thursday, the last day of business for 1999. An hour before the escrow office closed, the deal was completed.

With a 10-year Promissory Note in hand, the church set out to pay off their loan and accomplished the goal in only seven years. Church membership is now 237—and still chasing dreams while steadily growing. In fact, the day of the note burning—just before Thanksgiving—the church celebrated two baptisms.

January 01, 2008 / Washington Conference
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Heidi Martella, Washington Conference associate communication director, with Robert Grady retired Washington Conference trust services director