Port Angeles congregation opens doors to Seahawks fans
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Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
D.J. Beardsley, 41, Brian Soiseth, 24, Edwin Swagerty, 21, Gabriel Possinger, 22 and Jake Marbelle, 25, from left, all of Port Angeles, react during Sunday’s playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons. They were among about 250 who watched the game at the Lighthouse Christian Center in Port Angeles.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — There were cheers, groans and what looked like prayers from the roomful of diehard fans as the Seattle Seahawks battled a 20-0 halftime deficit Sunday morning.

But the setting wasn't a sports bar, and the prayers might have fit the setting more aptly than the cheers.

The 10 a.m. game was being shown on a large-screen television set up at the front of Lighthouse Christian Center at 304 E. Viewcrest Ave. in Port Angeles.

It was preceded by a 9 a.m. sermon by Pastor Jason Noble, and ended with the Atlanta Falcons defeating the Seahawks 30-28.

In honor of the game — and to attract more churchgoers — the church canceled its 11 a.m. service and adorned the sanctuary in Seahawk green and blue balloons and lights.

While the more intense fans watched inside, children played in the hallways, a potluck tailgate-style lunch was served in a large public area, friends chatted on a wide outdoor porch and teenagers tossed a football in the parking lot.

During commercials and game timeouts, Noble called names for door prizes, including two big-screen televisions given away at halftime.

But there was a catch: To be eligible, you had to have attended the
9 a.m. service.

“It was controversial among church members,” said Mae Graves, a member of the congregation and Seahawk fan.

Not everyone thought it appropriate to cancel the second service for football, Graves said.

“It was interesting to see the prayer team up there in their Seahawks jerseys” during the 9 a.m. service, she said.

Most of those watching the game were members of the church or their friends.

“It cements us as a community,” said Genna VanVarden, a church member who proudly wore her Seahawks jersey — as did her daughter, 7-year-old Ariana VanVarden.

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 13. 2013 6:23PM
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