MUKILTEO — Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered on the morning of Oct. 16 to see what remained of their church after it was destroyed by arson.
They will gather again today on the corner of Harbour Pointe Boulevard and Chennault Beach Road to celebrate a new be
Church members plan to break ground on the new building Saturday morning. Construction is scheduled to start April 4 and to wrap up before Christmas.
Connie Carey remembers the heartbreak she felt the morning of the fire. Church members were only left to hope it was an accident. They soon found out otherwise.
“We were devastated,” Carey said. “To think that someone did something like that on purpose.”
The fire caused more than $4 million in damage. A video camera at nearby Kamiak High School captured someone throwing a Molotov cocktail at the church. Mukilteo detectives are still investigating the case.
Carey, who lives in the neighborhood, walks by the site every day. She went back to the building once and managed to salvage a hymn book, its pages swollen with water and covered in ashes, but still readable.
“I’ll keep it as a memento forever, just to remember what we experienced,” she said.
The building was home to the Harbour Pointe and Beverly Park wards, with about 800 people in both congregations. Neighboring Mormon churches in Everett and Lynnwood took in the two congregations with hardly any interruption in services.
“It required some big adjustments, but I don’t think they’ve skipped a bit,” said Eric Jacobsen, the bishop of the Harbour Pointe ward.
He was taking photos at the Mormon stake center in Lynnwood during a youth event Wednesday evening. The event brought together more than 100 young people from six different congregations. The night of activities was planned in preparation for a summer trip to the Pioneer Trail in Wyoming.
The fire didn’t go unnoticed in the community, said Jeff Lee, the ecclesiastical leader of several congregations in the area. Neighbors and churches of all faiths offered help, sent flowers and offered food.
“Good has come of this situation, just like it does to all who face affliction with faith and hope,” he said.
Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The community is invited to the groundbreaking ceremony at 11 a.m. today for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church at 11001 Harbour Pointe Blvd, Mukilteo. A choir performance is planned.
Police urge anyone with information about the fire to call 800-55-ARSON (800-552-7766). A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction.