Have a seat, make yourself at home

It was a buzz and flurry of activity at Christ Lutheran Church, located at 502-17th St. NW in Minot on Thursday morning as church members and other volunteers worked like bees and exchanged smiles with each other. It was an upbeat atmosphere due to the progress being made on the reconstruction of the church as well as the arrival of new pews for the sanctuary.

In the latest flood recovery efforts for the church, which recently merged with Augustana Lutheran Church, volunteers unloaded a truck carrying new pews for the sanctuary at Christ Lutheran Church. Members of the men’s basketball team from Minot State University were also there to help unload the truck. It took about an hour and a half to unload the truck and would take a day or two for the pews to be assembled and ready for the worship service this weekend.

“Today is a busy day,” said David Maxfield, senior pastor at Christ Lutheran Church. “We’re moving the seats into the sanctuary, and doing everything from concrete work to digging the foundation for the expansion and installing some stained glass windows.”

Allan Pearson, building committee chair for Christ Lutheran Church, said they were excited about having the pews delivered and installed. “It will be great to have seating again,” he added. “We’ve been using folding chairs.” Worship services have been held in Christ Lutheran Church since Christmas 2011, Pearson said, and they have been getting by with what they needed.

Progress on the reconstruction of the church is steady and ongoing. Multiple teams of volunteers have come through since the 2011 flood to assist in rebuilding Christ Lutheran Church. The sanctuary and basement of the church is being refurbished and a large fellowship area is being added. Pearson said that in the sanctuary, hand railings and light fixtures still need to be installed, and they’ll be getting a new sound system next week. “We’re making progress and will be back in better shape because the building will be all up to (handicapped accessible) code and we’re building an addition,” he added.

“The flood damage was immense,” Maxfield said. “We had water damage that destroyed our basement. Only the balcony and the altar were unharmed. We’ve been a church on the move having services at Bethany (Lutheran Church) and now we’re back here,” at Christ Lutheran Church. It has been an awesome experience to see the generosity and compassion of people to help put the facility back together and worship as a community, Maxfield said.

“It feels wonderful to have MSU help,” Pearson said. “We’ve had other volunteers and it’s wonderful to see the outpouring of help. If a good thing can come out of the flood, it has been in the help we’ve received.”

Pearson said they will be working on getting Christ Lutheran Church completed by next spring, but completion will be done in phases.

“None of us are a complete project and we’re all under construction and there’s a parable about that,” Maxfield pointed out. “But today will mark a major milestone and many more that will come over the next one to three years.” Christ Lutheran Church will be able to serve the fast-growing congregation, he added, and will have a renewed facility and renewed servants.

“God has placed us here to be servants of our community,” Maxfield said when making note of the expansion of nearby Longfellow Elementary School and homes in the neighborhood that have been rebuilt or are still in the rebuilding process.