A Grand Opening Indeed New UCC Office Ready for Action

The landscape wasn't complete, but the joy wrapped up in the Grand Opening celebration for the newly rebuilt Upper Columbia Conference office in Spokane, Wash., was unmistakable. Robert Folkenberg Jr., UCC president, welcomed representatives from local and state government and several hundred other people who came Monday, June 20, to tour the facility.

Bob Kyte, Adventist Risk Management president, reflected on the miraculous providence that provided adequate insurance coverage to replace the original building destroyed by fire in December 2008. "This currently represents the largest single payment in the history of our organization," he remarked. Then he quipped, "It's a record we hope will stand for a long, long time."

Folkenberg paid special tribute to Bill Skidmore, UCC human resources director, who served as conference liaison for the project. He also noted the resiliency of the office staff for exhibiting "a tremendous spirit and constant commitment to the mission of the church" throughout.

The new one-story office is 4,000 square feet smaller than the facility it replaced. Natural light from skylights and large windows wash through nearly every workspace. Signage with the three angel's motif is used inside and outside the building.

Testimonies of God's hand throughout the project are numerous. "The initial loss was devastating," Folkenberg says, "but the end result is an added blessing to our church. And," he adds, "insurance monies funded the replacement. No church money was required." That didn't come without careful and sometimes seemingly small decisions: Metal instead of wood door frames; and hydro-seeding outside grass instead of laying sod. "A lot of little choices," says Folkenberg, "added up to big savings and a project that came in under budget."

Doug Johnson, vice president for administration, recalls initial questions. "Even while the building was burning, we found ourselves asking ‘Where do we go from here?'" he says. "But every step of the way, God more than met our needs and astounded us with answers we'd never dreamed of."

August 01, 2011 / Upper Columbia Conference