Grace Theater Building Repair Update and Historical Information


Masonry Repair Update – November, 2019

What happened?!   That’s what my son said as we walked toward the church this morning.  It almost looks we’re in a war zone! So yes, we are under construction.   We are making necessary and long-overdue repairs to this home God has blessed us with.   I recently sent a video message with an update on the building project, which you can see here:

The short version is that there is damage to the masonry in several places.  Our building was built in 1952 (so almost 70 years old).  When water intrudes into the bricks, it can get to the steel rebar, which than rusts and expands, causing the bricks to crack.  Our contractor needed to open up the walls where the cracks occur, assess the damage, and work with a structural engineer to develop a repairs system.  Because the problem is under the surface, we couldn’t know how extensive the repair will be until the building was opened up so we could look inside.  Our contractor hired a structural engineer who is experienced in this kind of repair and has developed a system for restoring the masonry.   It involves cleaning and chemically treating the steel that isn’t too far gone, and replacing steel that has deteriorated from rust too much to be saved.  Then galvanic anodes are installed on the steel to prevent future rust, and finally the whole area is replaced with a specialized concrete mixture specific to this purpose, formed to look like brick (concrete is less expensive and more durable than brick). Afterward, a special paint that acts like a giant rubber glove is used to protect the bricks from future water intrusion.  The bid for repairing the damaged areas is $29,990. That means our immediate task is to raise $30,000 And that means each of us need get to work praying for provision, and practicing generosity.

Your Talents At Work

You’ll also notice that our giant G R A C E sign is being repaired.   It is made of metal and has a fair amount of rust damage. The sign is made with metal letter boxes with foam letters mounted on them.  Last Sunday after church, a group of artists from our church family set about to making new foam letters for the sign.  The letter boxes are surprising large when you see them up close – they are over four feet tall.  So on Sunday our volunteer artists were able to cut out 4 sets of foam letters, then one of them came in several days during the week to prep and paint them.  This will save over $1000.  Another young man from our church works for a sheet metal fabrication company and is volunteering to build new letter boxes to replace the ones that are rusted beyond repair.  This will potentially save us several thousand dollars (final cost is still pending).

How about you? Do you have a skill or trade that you might be able to share as we continue fixing up our home?   For example, the canvas canopies outside the children’s area and the office windows need to be repaired or replaced.  When we get to the interior we’ll need to do painting, carpet and other flooring installation, probably some tile work in the bathrooms…if you have a skilled trade that might help and would like to volunteer, let us know.

Future Phases

The masonry repair and painting and sign repair and repainting could be done by the end of November and as mentioned above, we need to raise $30,000 for the masonry repair.  When that is complete we will be looking to doing some refurbishing of the interior – repainting, new carpet and flooring, new tile and partitions in the bathrooms, furniture for the lobby, new lighting to replace the industrial fluorescent fixtures in the theater, new stage that can function for theatrical performances.   A rough estimate is that we will try to raise $50,000 for these improvements.   We could begin to raise those funds early in 2020.

Generous Beginnings

This whole process started with a generous donation of $100,000 from our former landlord, along with her offer to sell the building to us for a fraction of its market value, for which we are so thankful.  We knew then that it would soon be time for our Grace Vineyard family and friends to step into our own generosity and begin gathering our resources for the necessary repairs.   I’m reminded of the heart behind building the Lord’s House expressed in the book of Haggai:

Haggai 1:3-14

3 Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”… 7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. …12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God…

Please keep this entire project in your prayers, including the repair work and the money that needs to be raised.  And please ask the Lord what your part is in raising the money for the project.   We’ll need some donors who can give $5,000, $10,000 or more, and many more who can give smaller amounts.  Whatever your part is, know that it is as important as everyone else’s.   You can send a check with “building fund” in the memo line, or you can use this donation button:

Our History in the Crest Theater

Grace Vineyard Christian Fellowship meets in a historic movie theater formerly known as the Crest Theater.  Here’s 2 pictures comparing the theater in 1952 and 2017 looking north on Freeman Street:


The theater became vacant in the 1990s. A local real estate developer bought it in 1997.  Our church was called Grace Chapel of the Coast at that time, and was renting various facilities.  We saw this article in the Oceanside Blade Tribune, a local newspaper, and founding pastor Jack Little asked his assistant Ron Ohst to try to locate Harvey Schwarz, the new owner listed in the article, and tell him we have an idea for a great use for the theater.

Mr. Schwarz asked Jack and Ron to meet him for breakfast in the Jolly Roger restaurant in the Oceanside Harbor, and they struck a deal over breakfast.  That began a long and fruitful relationship with the Schwarz family.  The building included the theater, a nutrition store and upstairs office suites.  Over the years we were able to expand into the entire building.  What was the Oceanside Nutrition Center became our children’s ministry area, and the office suites became our “Upper Room” youth center.

Mr. Schwarz passed away in 2017, and his memorial service was held at Grace Vineyard, with now senior pastor Ron Ohst leading the service.  Mr. Schwarz’s daughter, Cathy Schwarz became the new owner and continued to lease to our church, always under very generous terms.  In August, 2019, Miss Schwarz gave us an extremely generous offer to purchase the building, and we closed escrow in September 2019.