Early on the morning of October 14, 2022, Pastor Sara Keeling was awakened by a neighbor’s call: “I think there’s a fire at the church!” Then she and others hurried outside…and watched as firefighters battled a major fire in our church building.
Now almost a year later, Open the Doors is our capital campaign to pay for reconstruction costs not covered by our insurance. Removal of asbestos-containing material was mostly but not fully covered, for instance.
A big expense is replacing the roof—joints, rafters, slate and all—because our reimbursement is based on depreciated roof value, not replacement value. Safety-monitoring system updates are merited, as well as professional advice and solving problems yet to be uncovered.
The fire started in the attic (old wiring was the presumed cause) and burned the roof and the attic’s contents, leaving only a blackened pile of ash and debris. While active flames were contained to the attic, efforts to extinguish the fire created extensive smoke and water damage.
Fire trucks sprayed thousands of gallons of water on the second-floor music room and classrooms, the first-floor staff offices and Gathering Space, and the lower-level classrooms.
Immediately after the fire, Mount Olivet hired Paul Davis Restoration, a fire recovery contractor, to clean the building, remove damaged contents, and seal the fire-damaged area off from the rest of the building.
Our priority was making the weekday preschool classrooms, sanctuary, fellowship hall, and remaining classroom spaces safe for use. Mount Olivet also formed a fire recovery committee— the Phoenix Taskforce — to engage with Church Mutual, the Church’s property insurance agency, as well as Paul Davis Restoration, to assess the damage.
Repair and recovery
Environmental testing revealed that fire and water damage had exposed materials containing asbestos in the fire-damaged area of the building. No restoration could begin until these asbestos-containing materials were removed. Asbestos abatement was completed on August 18, 2023, and all spaces were re-tested and cleared for restoration.
Now the Phoenix Taskforce is meeting with contractors to tour the building and gather comprehensive proposals for all repair work. Mount Olivet has contracted with an architect to prepare drawings to submit to Arlington County for construction permits.
We’d like to raise at least $500,000 to support the repairs to the building, and get a restored building ready for Mount Olivet’s ministries as soon as is feasible. Mount Olivet’s goal is to open the doors — OUR doors — in the fall of 2024. With your help, we believe that is possible!
(Should funds raised from this campaign exceed the final costs of the restoration and repair of the damage due from the fire, any excess will be used to support long-standing capital repairs and projects.)
What can I do to support Open the Doors?
We’d like you to pray and reflect on what the Lord is calling you to do to fulfill the Lord’s will for Mount Olivet. While amounts may be different for everyone, our hope is that each person will be led to give generously.
Message from Leadership
Dear Members and Friends,
Commitments to our Open the Doors capital fundraising campaign are critical for Mount Olivet’s missions, including Community Assistance, the Preschool, music ministry, youth ministry, The Way, and Traditional Worship. Please give generously.
Sara Keeling, Senior Pastor
Kristen Nelson and Justin Kopca, Open the Doors Co-Chairs