Members of Malibu Presbyterian Church dedicated the new sanctuary Sunday by writing scriptures and prayers on the concrete floor, five years after a devastating wildfire.
Pastor Greg Hughes said the writing was meant to acknowledge that God is at the foundation of the congregation.
"The church's foundation is not just cement. It is not just steel beams. It is God's word. That is what we stand upon," Hughes said.
The new sanctuary is expected to be completed in late January, he said.
"We've been in such a temporary state for such a long time. It's been five years. It's just so wonderful to have a place where we can call home. This is a place where it will have our weddings, our baptisms, special family events and community events," Hughes said.
The completion of the sanctuary on Malibu Canyon Road will mark the first phase of the project. A second phase will include the removal of a temporary tent, where parishioners have been worshipping.
Jeff Peterson, a seven-year Malibu Presbyterian member, said his home was also threatened by the Canyon fire in October 2007, which destroyed 22 structures.
Peterson said he wrote down the verse Psalm 145: 13-14 in the corner of the sanctuary.
"I just wanted to put it here. This is our church. As we have come here through the years, and my little kids are here, it's kind of a special moment," Peterson said.
He said the church has grown since the fire.
"What's really amazing is how much time flies. It's been five years and it doesn't feel like it's been five years," Peterson said. "Everybody stuck together. We were in Webster and then in a tent. It's been a good community even though it has been through hardship."
Amelia Raila of Westlake Village said she began attending the church during the transition period.
Ralia said she wrote a prayer in the southwest corner, where she was drawn by "the beautiful view."
"I do recall when this burnt down and I know it has been five years," Ralia said. "... [It is] getting restored in a way and rebuilt. Sometimes God needs to clean things out to rebuild it to make it better."