Saturday, July 28, 2018

New Hope for Former Olympia Temple

Above: New Hope Anglican Church has found a new home at 802 Jefferson Street SE, the former location of Temple Beth Hatfiloh, near downtown Olympia. Congregational members began much needed yard maintenance and interior cleaning on Saturday.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

Congregational members of New Hope Anglican Church were working hard on Saturday sprucing up their new home, the former Temple Beth Hatfiloh, at 802 Jefferson Street SE, near downtown Olympia.

The building was recently purchased by local businessman Ali Raad, Marhaba Company, LLC, from Calvin Johnson, K Records, for $340,000.

The building was most recently home to K Records and has suffered a bit of abuse and neglect. The grounds have been home to the houseless for several years. 

Raad is renting the building to the church at a reduced rate in exchange for significant maintenance and repairs, inside and out. Repairs have already been made to an outside exterior area burned in a fire in 2016.  

The small, white building on the corner of Jefferson Street and Eighth Avenue was constructed in 1938. It is listed on the City of Olympia’s inventory of historic properties, but is not on any local and national historic register.

The original Star of David was removed from the building in 2017 and restored. It is now located at the current location of Temple Beth Hatfiloh at 201 Eighth Avenue.

One planned improvement to the split-level building is the installation of an elevator lift for those who need it.

Above: Reverend John Allen of New Hope Anglican Church stands in the downstairs meeting area of the former Temple Beth Hatfiloh on Saturday. Allen came to the New Hope congregation from Bellingham just a year and a half ago. 

Reverend John Allen of New Hope Anglican Church is providing fresh direction for the congregation of 35 - 45 members. The Church is less than 10 years old and meets in a variety of locations in Lacey.

“In the last year or so, we have felt a call to come to Olympia. We provide a weekly street ministry called Street Angels. We visit the homeless community, providing food, clothing, and toiletries, and talk, listen and pray with them.

“To do this through this building, being able to step into that role of ministering to the community, especially those who are struggling, is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to be here with the people of this city," said Allen.

Allen said the sanctuary will have a traditional liturgical feel and get a new coat of paint with gray-silver colored trim. The altar area will initially be decorated with green decorations.

“We’re really excited about the fact that it was once a synagogue. That was really important to our community, actually. Christ was a Jew from the time of Israel and called out to the Jewish people, so we loved the symbolism,” he said.

The congregation will be in the building before September. The sanctuary space won’t be ready by then, so they will initially meet downstairs in the coffee area.

“We’re still talking about what we’re going to do with the space, but we have dreams and hopes to make the coffee area a place for the whole community to gather. We’re small, but we have a lot of personality and a lot of talent,” Allen laughed.

The first service at the new church building will be September 2 at 10:00 a.m.

A community grand opening will be held within the next few months.

Above: The doors are open to the community once again at 802 Jefferson Street SE.

Little Hollywood has written previous stories about the former Temple Beth Hatfiloh building including,“Olympia’s Star of David Returns Home,” at and “Olympia Temple Saves Star of David,” at