OLYMPIA, Wash. — Fifteen months after a man armed with a propane torch set fire to the basement of the Hidden Creek Community Church in Olympia, Pastor Tim Heffer was back in front of his congregation.
“The only reason we are standing here today is because of the grace of God. It’s by God’s grace that we stand here,” Heffer said on Sunday.
A 23-year-old was arrested for setting fire to the church. Investigators tied him to two other fires in the same neighborhood that same night.
“We talk about forgiveness for the arsonist and in Jesus’ name, I forgive him. I’m going to ask you to do the same thing. And boy, forgiveness comes at a great cost at times. And I have to, layer upon layer, add mercy and mercy and mercy because sometimes that doesn’t come easy,” Heffer said from the pulpit.
Those attending service at the Hidden Creek Community Church will be the first to tell you it’s nothing short of a miracle that it reopened.
“I’m really grateful that we are able to use our building again. There are still a few final touches, but it feels like we are home again,” said Meg Heffer.
The building is brand new, built from the ground up. On Sunday, there were new faces in the crowd - the firefighters who responded that day back in August and the construction workers who helped rebuild it.
It is a powerful reminder that no problem, no crisis, is too big to overcome.