Mason Chuck Hein, of Chuck’s Masonry, picks through boxes of river rock to find the right piece for lining the baptistry at Calvary Baptist Church on Colby in Everett on Wednesday as his son, Harley, works along with him. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Everett’s Calvary Baptist Church is attracting the young folk

EVERETT — Dean Grotzke, the pastor at Everett’s Calvary Baptist Church, has been on an 11-year mission to bring about change.

“When I first came it was pretty much a seniors church,” he said. “It’s pretty much a work in progress to bring in young couples.”

The church is part of Baptist Network Northwest, but not of any larger group. Grotzke received his doctorate from Golden Gate Seminary, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

“We’re a grace-oriented Bible-believing church,” he said.

Programs instituted in the past decade have borne some fruit: a youth program, a young couples group and a children’s program have turned the congregation into about 30 percent younger generations.

The children’s program, called Awana, now has about 40 kids showing up every Wednesday evening.

A nursery in the rear of the auditorium now gets 8-10 babies on Sunday.

“Like so many churches, they have to face the fact that you have to shift things to reach the Millennials, the young couples. But it’s happening here,” Grotzke said.

The church now has about 100 members, but there’s room for more.

The roughly 10,100-square-foot building dates from 1960, according to Snohomish County property records, and there’s plenty of space to grow into it.

One aspect of the church’s rejuvenation has been a near-complete remodeling. Grotzke said he’s still finding rooms he didn’t know about as the project progresses.

Calvary’s children’s program needed a large space when it started six years ago. The only space available was in a basement divided into classrooms.

“It sort of kicked off our program for remodeling because we had to remodel the whole basement to put in a game circle,” Grotzke said.

The basement’s done now, and the church’s program has proceeded as money or donated labor or materials allowed.

In October, the steeple that once bore the church’s main sign was taken down and replaced with a new river rock facade.

“It was old and out of date and created a lot of leaks into our lobby,” Grotzke said.

Inside the auditorium, new carpeting is getting installed and the entire center row of pews is being replaced with chairs, which will allow for another key amenity.

“This church has never had a center aisle. That’s made it difficult for weddings,” Grotzke said.

The renovations are expected to be complete by Christmas.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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