This morning, my husband woke me with the horrible news that our church had burned down. You can look at more photos here, taken by one of our pastors. Apparently the fire started in the basement kitchen around 4 or 5 a.m., but what caused it has yet to be determined. Two firemen were also injured putting out the blaze.
Zion is a historic church, built by the Germans from Russia in the early 1900's. It was absolutely beautiful, with a gorgeous mural on the wall in the sanctuary, stunning stained glass windows, and the original pews and woodwork. Now it is a shell. When we went to look at it today, my heart hurt.
We live just down the street from our church, and only started attending it in the last few years. We love it. And to see this has just been devastating.
Zion has been a fixture of our neighborhood for many, many years. But the congregation has already found another place to meet. Another church in town graciously offered to allow us to use their building for services tomorrow.
I have no doubt that we will rebuild, and I have just kept one phrase in mind throughout the day: the church is not the building, but the people.