Local church blessed with guardian angel

By: 
CAROLYN DRYER, The Glendale Star Editor

Photos by Carolyn Dryer

Pastor Lew Spear stands across the street from the renovated building that is home to his Living Faith Fellowship church at 5850 W. Northview Ave.

Renovations have  begun on the gymnasium, and the pastor said with the help of volunteers from the congregation and grants to pay for materials and other labor, the hope is to have it ready by this summer so it can serve the youth, many of which could be students at the Glendale Elementary School District schools.

The sanctuary at Living Faith Fellowship has been completely renovated floor to ceiling. The church offers a mix of contemporary and traditional music during Sunday service.

“We’ve been very blessed and fortunate, Jon Froke (former Glendale planning director) is an angel on our shoulders. We were so unaware of what we needed to do. Jon told us how to get ordinances and in compliance. There are under 100 in our congregation. He was very helpful to help us get what we needed to do to use it. This had been such an eyesore for so long. The city wanted us to put the parking lot in as soon as possible. From that point on, it’s been a lot of work, a lot of elbow grease.” -Pastor Lew Spear

It started out as a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the northeast corner of Northview and 59th avenues.
When the congregation moved to a new location, it was purchased by the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix to serve Glendale youth. Councilmember Jamie Aldama remembers spending many summers there in his youth.
Once a new Boys & Girls Club was near Harold Smith School south of Glendale Avenue, the building sat idle for almost three years. In 2015, it became a church called Living Faith Fellowship.
Pastor Lew Spear talked about the transition. Spear and his congregation met originally at 19th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road in Phoenix. That location was closer to where Spear lived — in Vistancia. But he and his congregation “wanted to do something in the inner city.”
So, over the past three years, they have been trying to make the building usable.
“It took us quite a while,” Spear said. “It was in pretty bad shape. The back parking lot was just an old dirt lot. We had to work the inside before we could use it.”
But, Spear said it has been a great experience, especially with the help of a city official.

Guardian angel appears
“We’ve been very blessed and fortunate,” he said. “Jon  Froke (former Glendale planning director) is an angel on our shoulders. We were so unaware of what we needed to do. Jon told us how to get ordinances and in compliance. There are under 100 in our congregation. He was very helpful to help us get what we needed to do to use it.
“This had been such an eyesore for so long. The city wanted us to put the parking lot in as soon as possible. From that point on, it’s been a lot of work, a lot of elbow grease.”
Today, the building has a new roof, new stucco, new paint and gutters.
“We basically have saved up our money for one project at a time,” Spear said. “The Boys & Girls Club  of Glendale has been very wonderful in helping us get in here.”
Spear said the goal is to have the gymnasium renovated by this summer. The congregation applied for and received grants to cover the cost of the work. Spear said everyone is hoping to conduct classes with youth to keep them off the street. He said he has contacted the superintendent at Glendale Elementary School District — just a couple blocks east on Northview Avenue — and explained how he and his congregation would like to work with the school district.
Along the way, Spear said when he and his congregation felt discouraged, Froke “just kept encouraging us. He was just a guiding light from the moment we purchased this building.”
From the major beehive in a back office to cobwebs hanging from the ceilings and roofline, Spear said his church members remained vigilant.
“Our small congregation really got a vision for doing this,” Spear said. “Neighbors were very supportive.”
It is a calling for Spear, who said he and his wife both gave up six-figure careers to take on the project.
“I was a director at a college and my wife (Mary) is a computer analyst,” Spear said.
The Living Faith Fellowship has services at 10 a.m. each Sunday. Wednesday bible study will return Jan. 9. To learn more, call the church office at 623-434-6406 or visit livingfaithphx.org.

Category:

The Glendale Star

The Glendale Star
7122 N. 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013
Terms of Service

Email Us

Facebook

Peoria Times

Peoria Times
7122 N. 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013

Terms of Service

Email Us

Facebook

Please Login for Premium Content