Summit Northwest Opens in Post Falls

December 19, 2013 | Kathy Marson

Summit Northwest Ministries recently made a transition from its rented church in Newman Lake, Wash., to its purchased and remodeled theater in Post Falls, Idaho. The congregation's opening service on Nov. 9, 2013, was held just two days after they had received their occupancy permit.

More than 350 people — double normal attendance — came for the worship time, even with no advertising. Since the worship center has 209 fixed seats, some people left while others stayed to enjoy the service from a nearby room. The highlight of the event was the baptism of two young people, cousins Thomas Tiffany and Angel Pugh. Another highlight was when Jimmy Johnson, Upper Columbia Conference trust services treasurer, presented the church with $50,000.

The journey from Newman Lake to Post Falls was a successful but long journey made through the blessing of God. Ron Hessel reminded the congregation, “We built and remodeled this building to be a solitary place where we can connect with God so that we can take His love into our community, not to just stay and enjoy the new facility.” He used the biblical passage from Luke 3 and 4 about Jesus' activity in the early part of His ministry and how He withdrew to a solitary place to connect with God in order to go out and love the people.

This ministry began in the summer of 2004 utilizing space in the Post Falls Outlet Mall. Then the group moved to the Newman Lake site in 2007. As they outgrew that building, they looked for a larger place to accommodate growth.

When members discovered the Post Falls Theater was up for sale, they made an offer in January 2010. This was rejected. A year and a half later they were asked to make another offer. After several negotiations an offer was accepted for less than their initial offer, and they finalized the purchase in January 2012.

They began developing plans and applying for permits. Construction and demolition began in April 2012. The theater consisted of six theaters and an upstairs projection hall. Two of the theaters will eventually become the worship center. The opening Sabbath utilized just one of the rooms. Members plan to tear down a dividing wall and expand the worship center to hold 400 as funds are available.

Remodeling has been a huge undertaking, with 500,000 pounds of gravel and concrete needed to level four of the theaters to make a fellowship hall and classroom space. In spite of this, a financial analysis shows that after the remodel is complete, the group will have spent about half of what it would cost to build a structure of this size.

Future construction will include a kitchen, roof repair, multimedia development and the worship center expansion.