Easter, April 15, 2001, 4:15 a.m.: An arsonist sets the SLOUMC sanctuary on fire. It is engulfed in flames by 5 a.m. and completely destroyed by 11 a.m.
October 2001: Guide One Insurance delivers first payment: $1,000,000.
June 2001: A nationwide search is begun for noted liturgical architects.
September 2001: An initial solicitation is issued to eleven architectural firms. Seven respond, and SLOUMC down-selects to four for oral/face-to-face presentations.
December 2001: Jack Althouse of Jaffee Associates in Peroykenville, PA is selected to create the new structure. The architect recommends a “teaming arrangement” with general contractor. Specialty Construction, Inc, San Luis Obispo, CA is selected for the construction of the project.
January-June 2002: Architect Jack Althouse leads seven sessions with the SLOUMC congregation and the Building Committee to create and refine its vision of mission to God and the community. All discuss how this “needs assessment” will translate into the brick and mortar of a new building. Sessions include current building code considerations, team design training, and congregation team presentations of ideas for the “ideal” space.
May 2002: A radical hospitality and designing concept was extended to Hardscape and Art and Environment Committees.
June 2002: The refined, final design was presented to the congregation and Rev. Richard Garner, our District Superintendent.
July 2002: Seven financial institutions were evaluated as facilitators for forthcoming Capital Campaigns. Our Evaluation Team and congregation evaluated their proposals and eventually selected Cargill Associates, Dallas TX. First campaign ran for three years (2003-2005) with pledges totaling more that three-fourths of a million dollars. In addition, SLOUMC had during this time graciously received $330,000 in freewill donations from across the country.
October 2002: First formal UMC District review on our rebuilding project takes place. District Superintendent Richard Garner and his team gives laudatory comments to present SLOUMC Pastor Ron Griffen and the SLOUMC Building Committee.
January 2003: The congregation evaluates three alternatives for locations to hold our services while construction takes place. The “Wesley Building,” a separate facility on the SLOUMC campus, is selected. A remodel of the Wesley building is planned.
February 2003: An insurance settlement with Guide One for $3.5 million is reached. The agreement includes compensation for contents, displacement charges, and original structure.
July 2003: The architects file plans with the SLO City Planning and Architectural Review Committee.
August 2003: Four organ manufactures are identified as potential candidates to design a replacement for our destroyed pipe organ.
October 2003: A contract with Allen Organ Company is signed.
January 2004: City Planning gives final approval to SLOUMC building project.
February 2004: City Architectural Review Committee approves final project with submitted corrections.
June 2006: Geological surveying continues
September 2006: A joyful groundbreaking ceremony takes place. Work in earnest begins with earthmoving.
November 2006: Local architect Tom Reay of Omni Design Group is hired to complete construction.
June 2007: The structure progresses. Steeple steel walls go up, along with walls for the sanctuary. Work on the Methodist Activities Center begins, as does rough grading for the parking lot, and some preliminary work for heating, air conditioning and electrical conduct.
December 2007: A generous gift resulting from the closing of the United Methodist Church in Shell Beach is advocated by District Superintendent the Rev. Catie Coots. Omni Designs and Specialty Construction complete design, confirm construction estimates and began final phase of construction project.
February 2008: The “Peace Bell” inscribed with the phrase “Let Peace Prevail on Earth” in Latin, is installed in the church tower. It is rung for the first time.
Easter 2008: Grand Opening of new structure