The decision was made. The Board felt that if the church was to survive and grow, restoring the sanctuary as soon as possible was absolutely necessary. So they took a step in faith and decided to raise the money and proceed with the rebuilding project. Calling on the same faith and conviction that built the church in the first place, the congregation began the process of raising the funds to rebuild the church. Everyone pitched in according to their means, and, aided by some extraordinary gifts, the rebuilding fund grew steadily. Well over half the necessary funds were raised, and contracts were made to start the work. The remaining funds needed were raised by low interest loans from members of the congregation and Citizens Business Bank.
Every staff member who worked on the rebuilding project expressed their appreciation for General Contractor Ziggy Jedsky of POL Construction. Time after time, he and his crews went the extra mile to see that everything was done properly, and always with a positive, loving and respectful spirit. They even worked double shifts and weekends to have the building ready for Christmas Eve services.
Reconstruction of the church required removing all of the landscaping on both sides of the building. The once mighty Jacaranda tree that had sheltered the minister’s garden on the south side of the building had to go, as did several trees on the north side. A plywood wall surrounded the construction site. To show their spirit for the church, Barnhart School students painted a mural covering the entire wall.
The roof was removed, the old tiles being too heavy for current codes. Asbestos was found and had to be removed before construction could continue.
To provide for handicapped access, the bride’s room had to be remodeled. There were many times that it seemed as though there were two steps backward for every step forward. But steady progress was made and gradually the sanctuary began to emerge again.
The most important change was to replace the bottom twelve feet of the laminated wooden beams (glu-lams) which hold up the roof. The bottoms of several of the beams were found to be riddled with dry rot. The new steel beams have a vertical brace to help bear the weight of the roof and they protect the glu-lams from the conditions that induced the dry rot.
On Christmas Eve, 2002, the first services were held in the reconstructed sanctuary. Much like the first service held in the Rosemead Blvd. church, the roof was not yet completed, but it was warm and cheery inside. Because construction wasn’t finished, the landscaping had not been restored. A local nursery came to our aid, donating all of their left over Christmas trees, and supplying the transportation to get the trees to the church. These trees were placed along either side of the church, just outside the windows where they provided a lovely screen.
On December 28, 2002 the first wedding was held in the reconstructed church.
Work continued through February and landscaping was completed. The Sanctuary of The Santa Anita Church was back in all its glory, stronger than ever, with the prayers of its members that, like the great cathedrals of Europe, it will stand as a beacon of Light for the ages.