Golgotha Baptist grateful for temporary home after losing its building to arson in September

Staff writerDecember 26, 2013 

The congregation of Golgotha Baptist Church learned something important when it lost its worship hall to fire in September.

People make a church, not the building.

But having an interim home at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church at 3315 S. 19th St. in Tacoma has helped. Golgotha is now one of three congregations that holds services at the building at separate times.

Many of Golgotha's programs had to be put on hold after the fire, which was ruled arson. A 30-year-old man has been charged and awaits the disposition of his case.

But there's space at Gloria Dei for the Golgotha choir to practice on Saturdays and the youth group to meet on Tuesday nights.

And Sunday school is back, which has been a blessing to the children who attend Golgotha. Church without Sunday school had been confusing for the younger members of the congregation, 13-year-old Mirel Burinskiy said.

"It was different, because in Sunday school they break it down simple, " Mirel said.

There are more children among the roughly 300 people who attend Golgotha Baptist than in most congregations, spokesman Adrian Miclaus said. Many members are immigrants from the Eastern European country of Moldova. The church was worried about whether Gloria Dei would be able to handle all the lively energy that comes with the younger members.

But when Golgotha members warned them, "They said: 'No problem, we want life in this church, ' " Miclaus said.

There was definitely life there Sunday.

The kids performed a Christmas show that was about what would have happened if Jesus had been born today. The hallways were full of excited chatter.

The interim space is "crucial" to organizing those kinds of activities, Miclaus said.

Golgotha held services at several churches after the fire, before settling at Gloria Dei long term.

Other congregations in the region offered other help after the fire.

"We had a lot of people call in saying: 'How can we help, ' " Miclaus said.

The support is still coming.

A church in Renton recently took up a collection to replace Golgotha's Bibles. That church brought about 50 Sunday and said more are on the way.

Golgotha eventually plans to rebuild on the same ground at 1611 85th St. E. where its original hall burned.

Church officials still are working with the insurance company but estimate they'll be able to finish the new church about September 2015.

"We hope it'll be sooner, " Miclaus added.

Mirel does too.

When asked what he wants people to know about his church, Mirel said: "We're kind people."

Kind people thankful for the interim space, but still anxious to rebuild.

"Homesick, " the boy added.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268
alexis.krell@thenewstribune.com
thenewstribune.com/crime-news
@amkrell

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