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Scott City congregation to replace church destroyed by fire

Published: Dec. 24, 2019 at 11:09 PM CST
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SCOTT CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - This Christmas, a congregation in Scott City, Mo is celebrating their ability to overcome a devastating fire and plan for a better future.

In June 2019, leaders of the Cornerstone Wesleyan Church blamed a thunderstorm for sparking an electrical fire inside their worship space.

Mark Fisher said his father helped build the church back in 1947.

“When they called and said the church was burning I was down there in five minutes," Fisher said. “I could see we was going to lose it and I wept.”

Months after the church was leveled, the congregation is still meeting at a temporary location and now has a new name, new leadership and plans for a new worship center.

“For our potential we could not be bound by our past so we had to let it go, and my faith has sustained me through the changes,” Fisher said. “I don’t want to miss nothing that God has to do with because I always take away more than I ever bring. It’s powerful.”

Bob Lenz and his wife Sandy are the new pastors of what is now called the Restoration Community Church.

“We know what we’ve got to do. We’ve go to rebuild," Lenz said. "Just like the song ‘I will rise out of the ashes, we will rise.’ That is exactly what this is about. We don’t want to trip over yesterday because we are never going to embrace tomorrow.”

Lenz said the church just purchased a four acre lot on the other side of town where their new permanent structure will be built.

Monty Keesee builds homes in Scott City and was holding onto the undeveloped property for more than a decade.

Keesee just started attending the church months before the fire broke out, and wanted to help himself and the rest of the congregation heal.

“I got the job of tearing the old structure down. It bothered me. I had to ask the pastor to come and talk to me because I felt so terrible,” Keesee said. “But then it turned around and I was asked to rebuild the church. I can’t tell you how it makes me feel to be able to build something is going to touch so many souls for years to come.”

Keesee and church leaders said the plan is to build a 15,000 square foot church that includes a sanctuary, a gymnasium and media rooms for the new youth learning center.

“Down where the church was before they just did not have enough room to do it,” Keesee said. “So with this new piece of property, the good Lord is the limit. He just has to tell us what to do.”

Student Grace Glaaser has been at the church for a year and is glad the leadership wants to focus on engaging more kids.

“It was difficult getting over the fire but now I’m just realizing we have so much more room to grow," Glaaser said. “The game room is really nice because I realize it brings a lot more people in, kinda of like a fun arcade. You can have fun while having a relationship with Christ.”

Church member Ronald Jones also donated $20,000 to the youth learning center which will be named after two of his relatives Grace and Nettie.

Pastor Lenz hopes to start construction next Spring and to be inside the new church in the year 2021.

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