Raising the roof

The end of the long road of flood recovery continues to draw nearer and nearer for the congregation of Christ Lutheran Church, of Minot, as the beams for the roof on the extension of the church were placed on Wednesday afternoon.

A few spectators gathered to watch the roof beams set in place by the mostly volunteer construction crew. Bill Graves, construction builder with Mission Builders, a volunteer organization that is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said each beam for the roof weighs about the equivalent of two cars, or 6,000 pounds.

The Mission Builders were brought in through Christ Lutheran Church, which recently merged with Augustana Lutheran Church, to help with flood recovery. The crew has been working on the interior and exterior of the church and the extension for several months this year. They were also here last year. Graves said this crew of volunteers are from Texas, Florida and Missouri and they do all trades. However, local electricians, plumbers and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) workers are hired, he added. “We do the rest ourselves,” Graves said.

The construction projects that Mission Builders do each year tends to vary. Graves said some years there are two to three, while other years there can be eight to 10. “It depends on the economy,” he added. The next project will be the construction of a large multi-function hall at Camp of the Cross near Garrison next year.

The interior painting and remodeling of the church have been done by church members, Graves said. “It gives them the opportunity to meet the Mission Builders and share mission stories,” he added. They have previously held Bible studies with the Mission Builders volunteers and have done outreach to the surrounding neighborhood.

Allan Pearson, director of the property board and building committee at Christ Lutheran Church, said the extension will be used for the Tuesday free meal. Each day, one of five churches in the community hosts a free lunch for those in need. “It’ll be great to have a nice facility with easy access,” he added. The church is entirely handicap-accessible now.

Some of the challenges since the 2011 flood has been getting the water line moved and getting contractors lined up, Pearson said, both of which have taken longer than they thought. “We’re very excited to get this building (the extension) up,” he added. The plan is to get the extension enclosed before or by the fall, Pearson said, and work will continue on the interior after that.

“It’s been awesome to work with the Mission Builders,” Pearson said. “They have been great to work with.” The goal of the Mission Builders has been to help the church build a building, he added. “It’s rewarding to have volunteers and youth groups from out of state (come to help) and seeing people willing to come help. We’re very thankful to all of the groups who have helped and we look forward to coming back and giving to the community.”