High on a Hill, New Escondido Church Is Officially Opened
"You can’t miss this place on the hill as you drive by on the freeway,” Sandra Roberts noted at the Escondido church’s festive grand opening ceremony July 17.
Located at 1305 Deodar Road, the church is visible on the west side of Route 15, towering behind Escondido Adventist Academy.
“This new facility is going to give us a huge shift forward in our ministry to our community,” says Steve Blue, senior pastor. The spacious upper floor contains a sanctuary that can seat up to 650 people, a fellowship hall with an adjacent commercially furnished kitchen, a gymnasium, Sabbath school rooms for children and youth, and rooms for men’s and women’s ministries and the church’s CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement Project) and quilting outreach ministries. The San Diego Christian Center rents the lower level, where it runs a preschool that opened in September.
Roberts, Southeastern California Conference executive secretary, represented the conference staff at the opening service, as did Gerald Penick, president, and Thomas Staples, treasurer.
Escondido’s mayor, Lori Holt Pfeiler, also celebrated with the members, former members and pastors, and friends. She presented Blue with a certificate of welcome from the city.
“The strength of the city comes from the strength of its churches,” Holt said, noting that the Adventist church has been in Escondido for more than a century.
Lucy Morris, a longtime member, estimated that about a dozen people there that day had been members of the church in 1984, when the congregation and its pastor, Carl Watts, made the decision to relocate.
Former pastors Gary Taber and Jon Ciccarelli reminisced at the grand opening about shepherding the congregation through the milestones and miracles — and many frustrating delays — during the 26 years between the decision to build a new church and the building’s completion.
Members began meeting in the church this past May, with Blue as their new pastor. Blue’s part of the grand opening ceremony was to point members forward.
“We rest on the promise of Scripture,” he said, referring to Philippians 1:6, “that He who began a good work in us will carry it to completion.”