Bert Martin, a member of the Vancouver United Church of Christ, recalled getting a phone call while deep in sleep an early morning in May 2016.
His church was on fire, he learned.
At the scene, he remembered, firefighters were concerned the cross atop the west steeple of the church’s sloping, boat-like roof would fall on homes below.
“They wanted to take it down before it fell down,” he told to the congregation at a rededication ceremony for the church Sunday afternoon. “They worked on that cross for several hours, but as hard as they tried they could not get that cross to come down. I think that sums up our experience as a church perfectly.
“The fire was a terrible experience, but through the faith of this church and the loving hand of God, we could not be brought down.”
An arsonist struck the church, also known as the First Congregational United Church of Christ, at 1220 N.E. 68th St., early morning May 25, 2016. The fire nearly destroyed the sanctuary’s west steeple, did more than $2 million in damage, and displaced the congregation and church services for more than two years.