CLEARFIELD — “We’re getting space to do the business of God.”
That’s one of the big positives Pastor John Parsley sees out of the rubble of a fire that destroyed much of the Clearfield Community Church in March of 2013.
A fire that was caused by a bad cathode tube in a library computer monitor led to the sanctuary (chapel) being almost totally destroyed, he said. It included a lot of lumber and went up quickly, while the cement-based fellowship hall withstood most of the damage..
The foyer, church offices and other areas were destroyed. It meant relocating church offices to the Clearfield Community Arts Center and services to Wasatch Elementary School.
It’s expected activities and services can resume in the nearly-completed new building in August, Parsley said. An official dedicatory service is planned for Sunday, Sept. 7. at the church, on the corner of 200 S. 500 East.
“The Clearfield community has been marvelous,” the pastor said. The fire struck just before Palm Sunday, but the Davis School District offered space in the new school and the city offered the office space, both at nominal rates.
“God built a new a brand new elementary school, a place where we could meet,” he said. “Folks from the custodian to the principal have been so good to us.”
The afternoon of the fire, Parsley and his secretary were working in the office, there were some children attending a school elsewhere in the building. The fire started in the basement and had progressed substantially before anyone smelled the smoke, the pastor recalled.
“I called 9-11, then the phone line went dead. I took my laptop and ran out the front door,” rather than the back door to the parking lot, as he normally did, Parsley said.
“Already Clearfield Police were running up the street, up 200 South, loudly telling people to get out of the building. I so respect that,” he said. “They saw to our safety first.”
The building was heated by natural gas and it could’ve blown up had anyone stood nearby to watch the fire, Parsley said.
The new building is much better organized than the original, which had several remodelings and additions over the years, he said.
The building is highly energy efficient, now has a sprinkler system, windows to let light in, and an “almost commercial grade” kitchen.
The sanctuary features “environmental projection,” which means the space can be made to look like a scene from a national park or a beach, what have you, Parsley said.
A Yamaha 350 acoustic piano can produce 350 different voices, from cathedral organ to guitar, and the congregation is also hoping to buy a grand piano.
A coffee bar has also been added, and more space in the foyer. “We are worshiping God, but also we are living stones rubbing together. We have rough edges that need to be smoothed off. We can talk, love, figuratively rub together,” Parsley said.
“People have so little time for community. In other countries, people gather at the pub,” and the church will serve as a gathering place, as well, he said.
“We anxiously want to serve the community,” the Indiana native said. Quoting from Mark 12 in the New Testament he said, “Love God with all your strength, and actively love your neighbor as yourself.”
He added that “we found out the community was glad we’re here. They expressed that to us..”
Open houses are planned for the police, fire, and other groups that have helped, as well as for the community. A Bible school is also planned Aug. 11-15.