Story by Margot Bass
Photos by Dan Cordova unless otherwise indicated
When Pastor Dan Cordova finally saw his church building after a winter storm dumped deep snow last week in Foresthill, CA, he admits he couldn’t help but gasp. “That’s not something I normally do … I was pretty shocked.” The heavy snow on March 1 caused the collapse of the roof of the large building, a former mill and now a plaza, where he rents space for Calvary Chapel Foresthill.
In a Sierra Nevada mountain community accustomed to winter snow, this one hit hard. Local news outlets reported that the same snow load led to the death of an 80-year-old woman just a day earlier as she stood beneath a porch that collapsed on her. Power was knocked out for days, and roads were covered with trees and downed telephone poles—reminiscent of tornado damage, Dan recalled.
Because several feet of snow had prevented people from attending church, no one was in the building when the roof collapsed. “We’re just grateful that nobody was in there; there wasn’t even a chance of people being in it,” Dan related. They are evaluating the amount of damage to the furniture and equipment in the building.
Inside, Dan was surprised to find that the cross on one of the walls was still intact, surrounded by debris. “When I saw the big cross on the front wall, I thought, If I don’t believe in the resurrection now, I should get out of the ministry,” he humorously added.
Despite the damage and the loss, Dan expressed, “I’m feeling a lot of strength from the fellowship. Not ever did I have the slightest sense of despair.” The congregation, which has been in this building for at least 10 years, is experiencing some understandably bittersweet feelings, he noted. “There’s some heartbreak like a family would feel if they lost their home. We’ve been reminding each other—and I’ve heard it from almost every person in the church—that we’re very aware that the church is the people, not the building.”
Now, therefore, you are … fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22
CC Foresthill has drawn up to 80 at its services. “It’s been very joyful and lively lately. That’s what makes it so hard to see this happen,” Dan shared.
This isn’t the first obstacle the church has faced. Last fall, the building was threatened by the dangerous Mosquito Fire. Active for over 51 days between September and October, it destroyed almost 77,000 acres, according to CalFire. The proximity of the fire to Dan’s home led him to evacuate his family, but providentially, it was redirected. However, days later, it advanced to within 150 feet of the church building. Dan and the church rejoiced again as God protected them.
“We’re learning to not anchor ourselves to anything temporary, but to keep our eyes on eternal things. We are grateful for what we have, but we’re holding loosely to it. The fellowship we have is connected to how we communicate, how we love each other, and that is a very major blessing for us now,” the pastor reflected.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10
Currently holding services online, Dan and the church are weighing options for future meeting places. “We’re expecting that God will lift us back up, but not if we’re operating in our own objectives and motivations. We have to stay humble before Him and let Him do the lifting.”
Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Psalm 127:1a
To help, information is available at the church’s Facebook page.
Learn more about this fellowship at calvaryforesthill.com
Learn about a Christian Discipleship all-encompassing re-entry ministry for men and women trapped in the deceptive, never-ending cycle of addiction.
U-Turn for Christ
© 2023 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.