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Cedar Ridge church launches expansion effort

Eileen JoyceA Bible verse written by a parishioner adorns a doorway in the new construction at the Cedar Ridge Baptist Church.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

One needn’t look to the heavens to ask Him if the Cedar Ridge Baptist Church needs expansion.

A quick trip to the women’s restroom will do the trick.



Two stalls, each more than 35 years old, are all there is for the women of the 150-member congregation on Brunswick Drive.




In time, new bathrooms – as well as many of the church’s offices for the Rev. Ken Unruh and other leaders of the flock – will be built, one plank at a time.

Every Saturday, church members bring saws, hammers, picnic baskets and elbow grease as they upgrade their place of worship.

They’ve done this, Unruh said, entirely on their own, with minimal outside help or money.

“We probably wouldn’t be able to do this if we didn’t have all this help coming from inside the church,” Unruh said. “If God wants something to happen, he will provide the resources.”

The renovation of the Cedar Ridge Church, which started inside a gas station in 1955 before the current building was constructed a decade later, is made possible by many of the members with expertise in various building trades.

Member Keith Brown is an architect who designed the addition of three offices, the bathroom, a nursery/children’s area and the parking lot. Another member, Paul Palmer, serves as the general contractor.

Church member Larry Pierce owns a paving company that will make the new parking lot, and John Ingram cut down trees to make way for the 2,400-square-foot addition.

Unruh himself has extensive construction experience.

“If we didn’t have these people, there’s no way we could do this. There’s no doubt (God) provided these people for us,” Unruh said.

Part of the work is being financed by a portion of a donation left to the church by 20-year member Ruth Percious, who died in 1999. The remodeling project will cost $175,000.

“We felt committed to not borrowing any money for this,” Unruh said.

Brown, a 20-year member, believes the church’s members will see the project through.

“We’re pretty confident we can do the bulk of the work ourselves. It wasn’t hard to convince people of that,” he said of the church, which has become a sort of spiritual Habitat for Humanity.

Brown was the architect for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Union Hill, Calvary Church near Lake of the Pines, and the First Baptist Church fellowship hall in Grass Valley.

Unruh said the construction project has drawn the church members closer.

“I was a little concerned at first, but people have gotten to know each other better. It has been an uplifting experience,” he said.

Several members of the church have taken to writing Scriptures above some of the beams that make up the doorways and rafters of the church, including lines from Psalm 50:23: “He who offers a sacrifice of Thanksgiving honors me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”

As for a completion date, Unruh said that may not entirely be up to him.

“The Lord has one; we don’t know what it is.”


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