Blessings Abounded In Building Church


The foundation was set and the walls were up the morning 20 men began the job of hoisting the first of 43 trusses that would form the roof of the Rim Valley Church of God. Using ropes and pulleys the all-volunteer work force strained their muscles joyfully in the task.

At noon they only had three of the enormous trusses in place.

About that time a man drove up with a big crane and parishioner Tom Cooka turned to founding Pastor Craig Pratt thinking that he had found someone to help. Pastor Pratt said he hadn't called anybody.

When they questioned the crane operator he indicated that his boss had sent him to raise the beams for them.

Four hours later the other 40 beams were in place.

"Blessings happened all during the building of this church," said Cooka, who has been a member since parishioners first began meeting in Pastor Pratt's Payson home in 1992.

From there they leased meeting space in a Main Street store front, and as the parish's growth continued, they began looking for land to build on.


Pastor Terry Warner came to the Lord while serving in the military as an aircraft mechanic. When he and his wife were visiting the states from where they were ministering to the U.S. Navy in Sicily, they drove through Payson. "I got it in my heart that one day I'd like to be a pastor here if the Lord would ever let me do that," Warner said. "He heard the desire of my heart."

The wooded lot on McLane Road across from the high school was for sale at a price they couldn't afford, but believing that all things are possible with God, they persisted to ask the owner of the property to drop the price. Meanwhile they met at the lot to hold hands and pray.

The owner finally dropped the price.

"I think we had it built in less than a year." Cooka said. Besides Church of God parishioner and pastors from the Phoenix area, people would just show up saying that they heard a church was being built and they just wanted to help. The volunteer force cleared the land and poured the concrete. A local plumber donated all of his labor.

In 1995 the Rim Valley Church of God was dedicated.

Pastor Terry Warner, the man leading the flock, said of his congregation, "They have such a spirit to move forward. I don't think I've seen that in a long time. It is very family-oriented. They are excited and want to see things happen. I like that in people."

Members of the Church of God believe in the born again experience.

Romans 12:1 and 2 talks about not conforming to this world, being transformed by the renewing of our minds. The Church of God is a holiness church. Another scripture is, "without holiness we cannot see the kingdom of God. So we try to train and teach that we are in this world, but not of this world."

We try to set an example of holiness and of living a Godly life. That's what those scriptures are all about. Scripture also tells us that we become living sacrifices wholly acceptable unto God which is our reasonable service.

"We're growing. we are trying to reach out and get the youth in here." Pastor Warner said. Members support an outreach to the high school students at 12:10 p.m. each day, providing a light lunch and bible study for young members and their friends.

Service times

Sunday school 9:45 a.m.

Worship service 10:45 a.m.

Sunday evening 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday worship service 7:00 p.m.

Youth Night on Saturdays from 6 p.m - 8:30 p.m.

This story is a another part of the Roundup's continuing series on churches in Payson and the Rim country and how they add beauty and grace to our community.

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