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Refuge Church meeting in Otis Orchards

Sat., Aug. 10, 2013

Refuge church members smile as pastor Bryce Brewer gives a sermon on Sunday at Refuge Church in Otis Orchards. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Refuge church members smile as pastor Bryce Brewer gives a sermon on Sunday at Refuge Church in Otis Orchards. (Tyler Tjomsland)

A new church has found a home in Otis Orchards this summer.

Refuge Church Spokane’s first service was in a warehouse on Sullivan Road at the end of May, but within days Pastor Bryce Brewer was contacted by The Intersection Church, the former Valley Open Bible Church, offering affiliation as a church plant. “They’re going to help us get our legal ducks in a row,” said Brewer.

The affiliation included the keys to a vacant church near Harvard Road and Euclid Avenue. Church members met there until Aug. 3, when they moved down the road to new space at Harvard and Wellesley Avenue.

Brewer, who founded the church, was the youth pastor at Eastpoint Church until he was asked to resign at the end of May. About 200 youth group members and their families followed him.

Brewer said he’s not sure why he was asked to leave. “I went from being an integral part of the team there to on the outs,” he said. “I was very committed to that church, super invested. Something shifted. Something changed. They felt I had broken trust with them.”

Matt King, pastor at Eastpoint, wouldn’t go into details about Brewer’s departure but said it wasn’t due to any illegal behavior. “There is absolutely nothing criminal about Bryce Brewer,” he said. “We know he has all the potential in the world. Our hearts are for him.”

It was the youth who left Eastpoint with him who encouraged Brewer to start a church, Brewer said. “This group of high school students really were the catalyst in keeping this going,” he said. “They’ve always known that I’ve always been about Jesus. I think that clicked with them.”

The teens used social media to rally their fellow teenagers and spread the word about the new church, which launched nearly overnight. “I didn’t understand what warp speed was until this,” Brewer said. “They created a brand new future for us.”

King said he’s not surprised that some youth group members would chose to follow Brewer. “Bryce is an incredible leader,” King said. “He’s had a massive impact for Christ in their lives. Why wouldn’t they?”

Brewer said he had always dreamed about leading his own church and being asked to leave Eastpoint made him step up. “That forced me into a place I wouldn’t have gone without being forced,” he said. “I would never have left. I would have stuck it out, come hell or high water.”

Now Brewer is turning his attention to the future, not the past. “We’ve really made a focus that this is going to be about Jesus,” he said.

The church’s new space has seating for 250 and a lot of space for the children’s ministry program. “People come to church because their kids like it,” he said. “I learned that a long time ago.”

King said he has nothing but good wishes for Brewer’s new church. “Our hope is that God would be glorified in all that we do,” he said. “That’s what our aim is and that’s what his is. That’s good enough for us.”

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