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Fire Destroys Lutheran Church In White

April 19, 2009, 10:04 PM by Erica Johnson

A small KELOLAND community is dealing with the loss of their church tonight.

Pioneer Lutheran Church near White started on fire early this morning. When crews responded the church part of the building was engulfed in flames and firefighters could do very little.

For more than 6500 Sundays, this was the spot church members gathered to worship.

“I was devastated. Came out here and looked at it and everything is gone,” church member Lew Wekes said.

“I feel like I kinda lost something here,” church member Allen Jensen said.

Pioneer Lutheran Church would have celebrated its 125th anniversary this summer. In 1884, a group of area farmers picked a piece of land and worked together to build the church, but what took more than a century to build was lost in one night.

What's left of the church are folding chairs, set up last night for Bible study that usually takes place on Sunday morning.

Jensen has been a member of the Pioneer Lutheran for many years. He and his wife were married in the sanctuary and his father helped establish the church.

“It's devastation, it's something you don't want everybody to have to go through,” Jensen said.

Despite their loss, this morning's fire didn't stop church members from holding service.
Less than a mile down the road, the congregation came together at one church member's farm to support one another in faith.

“It means a lot to me. Everybody is just like a family. We step forth for each other, we pray for each other,” Wekes said.

And now, together, the church family will begin to heal and rebuild.

Wekes with the Pioneer Church Council says they have already been offered a place to hold their services and he says they expect to have a plan to rebuild in the same spot within the next few months.

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