By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
The congregation at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church focused Sunday on the future and not the devastating past.
"We're going to get through this," the Rev. Brad Zerkel said.
Thursday morning was the low point as Zerkel stood in the cold and watched "the only sanctuary I've ever known as a pastor burn down."
Gut-wrenching, chaotic, hectic times have churned since the flames were first spotted. But the members and their supporters have also come together.
But he and the church have spent the ensuing hours regrouping and preparing for Sunday's worship service. Zerkel said the focus is the grace of the Lord taking away their pain and filling their hearts with the hope for the future.
"From that point on, it's been uplifting, through the Lord saying, 'It's OK.' The people saying, 'It's going to be OK,'" he recalled.
Because of the fire, the service was moved to the educational building's basement.
"We are meeting. We don't have heat. The fire marshal wouldn't even let us have space heaters, but we have our coats, our prayers and the Lord's word - that that'll be enough," the pastor said.
Roger Fangmann, president of the congregation, said members are plotting their next steps including whether to completely tear down the burned structure and start over or rehabilitate the existing property.
"Once we get some answers, we'll start meeting and come up with a plan from that," he said.
But the church will definitely stay in the old Northeast area near Eighth Street and Benton Boulevard.
""We've been here 90-plus years. We don't want to abandon this area," he said. "We're concentrated in this area. We feel the need to be in this area. There's not really any other Lutheran church's real close here that can meet that need."
Church officials are waiting to hear the final report from investigators, but believe the fire started near the organ in the sanctuary.
Both the pastor and Fangmann said the support the church has received has been incredible during a difficult time.
"It's important. We're a family," Fangmann said. "We draw on each other's comfort ... I don't think our future changes that much. There may be some changes to the facility and things like that. I think our future is pretty well determined."
You can track the church's rebuilding process at their website. Click here.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 3:29 PM EDT2013-05-21 19:29:04 GMT
For months, concerns had been raised about the welfare of Lucas Webb. Born Jan. 3, 2008, Lucas knew much pain and suffering in his four short years. More >
State records released Monday show how Missouri social workers failed to adequately pursue allegations of abuse involving a preschooler. Lucas Webb, 4, would die five days after the state closed the abuse investigation.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 9:21 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:21:47 GMT
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - An Army wife who lost over 100 pounds while her husband was away in Afghanistan surprised the soldier Wednesday when he arrived at Wilmington International Airport. Misty Shaffer,More >
A soldier from Wilmington returns from Afghanistan to a big surprise: a new wife, a new house and a different child.More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:09 AM EDT2013-05-21 12:09:58 GMT
A popular Blue Springs preschool will soon have to shut its doors, leaving parents scrambling to find a new option for their children. The owner of J.L. Woodlands Preschool, located near Northwest R.D.More >
A popular Blue Springs preschool will soon have to shut its doors, leaving parents scrambling to find a new option for their children.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 8:09 PM EDT2013-05-22 00:09:40 GMT
KCTV5, KSMO, The Salvation Army and the American Children's Society are partnering together to deliver bottled water to tornado-ravaged areas of Oklahoma.Take 5 to Care: Helping Oklahoma launched at noonMore >
KCTV5, KSMO, The Salvation Army and the American Children's Society are partnering together to deliver bottled water to tornado-ravaged areas of Oklahoma.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:17 AM EDT2013-05-21 15:17:00 GMT
People affected by the massive tornado that killed at least 51 people and destroyed parts of Oklahoma still do not know where their loved ones are, but many of them are using social media to find out.More >
People affected by the massive tornado that killed at least 51 people and destroyed parts of Oklahoma still do not know where their loved ones are, but many are using social media to find out.More >