Parish shares space, Christmas spirit with arson-damaged neighbor church

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Attending church services on Christmas is a longstanding tradition, but members of a St. Paul Lutheran church were left homeless this year after a devastating arson fire two weeks ago damaged their building.

KSTP reported that the congregation of St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church was invited to share the sanctuary at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, located less than a block away from their West Seventh Street location. Although the churches have different traditions, they came together for joint Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services during one of the most meaningful holidays of the Christian calendar.

"We are a family, whether we're from Saint Mark's or from St. Slanislaus, and if the shoe was on the other foot, Saint Mark's would be right there for us also," Dolores Hunstad, a St. Stanislaus parishoner, told the station.

The fire did more than $100,000 in damage. The blaze destroyed parts of the St. Mark sanctuary, church offices and the Sunday School wing, leaving the building unfit for worship for the foreseeable future. Gregory Knox, 27, has been charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to the building. No one was injured in the fire.

The Star Tribune reports that another neighbor, the Wulff Godbout Funeral Home located across the street from St. Mark, has provided space for Sunday services since the fire. St. Mark is using office space at the nearby St. Peter’s Lutheran Church and holding board meetings at local restaurants.

The Rev. Walt Wietzke, the longtime pastor at St. Mark, told the newspaper that he believes that the church and the neighborhood will survive this test and will ultimately be strengthened by it.

“Out of a crisis like this, good things are happening,” he said. “Everyone is rallying around each other. Yeah, it’s an inconvenience. But it’s also an opportunity.”

A fund has been established for the church. Contributions may be sent to the St. Mark Fire Fund, BankCherokee, 607 Smith Av. S., St. Paul, Minnesota, 55107.

A benefit for the church is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 17.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.

classroom

Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.

purse

Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.

Related