Alaska News

After 4 years, 'wedding cake' is only half-baked

Towering over the neighboring Fireweed Lane buildings in Midtown, the white corrugated metal stacks that some day will be La Luz del Mundo church sit idle, almost four years after construction started.

About the only action Friday was the afternoon sun reflecting off the roof of the unique-looking building -- think multilayer wedding cake.

The construction that started on the $1.7 million project in 2006 stalled about two years later when funding ran out amid a softening local economy and a souring national one. Outside the unfinished first floor, weeds almost hide the broken bottles of Old English and soda-can remnants scattered about.

But backers of the nondenominational Christian church say they are poised to give the site some new, well-needed attention.

This month, construction is resuming on the next stage of La Luz del Mundo. Ed Brown, owner of International Steel Erectors and contractor for the church, said the building is about two-thirds complete. Though the church doesn't have sufficient funding to complete construction this summer, the next step is to finish the inside walls and hook up electricity and sewage.

The odd-angled building will eventually be added to the thousands of already existing churches around the world for the La Luz del Mundo church. The current problem is funding.

Jose Lopez, construction manager and church member, said the financial support comes mostly from pass-the-hat donations from the group's 35 members, who meet in a leased space until the church is complete. Though they were receiving some supplemental donations from an affiliated Oregon church, it wasn't enough to raise the remaining funding.


The main temple of La Luz del Mundo is based in Guadalajara, Mexico, and led by Samuel Jaquí­n Flores. There are temples and churches in 42 countries throughout the world, many of which are replicas of the temple in Guadalajara -- including the local one on Fireweed Lane. Beyond similar roof construction, the temple and its replicas' interiors are complete with seven tiers of colored lights funneling toward the ceiling.

The Anchorage church isn't the only La Luz del Mundo work in progress. In both Chile and Arizona, La Luz del Mundo churches are slowly but surely being constructed at the same rate as the one here.

Though the Anchorage church is one of the more drawn-out projects contractor Brown has worked on, he said he enjoys projects like the church because it is something different.

"Anchorage doesn't have much for monuments," Brown said.

And a monument it is. Carlos Montemayor, director of public relations for La Luz del Mundo, says the architecture and effort that are put into all the buildings show the common thread between the thousands of La Luz del Mundo churches and make their faith visible.

"People think that faith is invisible but faith becomes visible by our works," he said.

Find Kaylin Bettinger online at or call her at 257-4349.