First United Methodist Church in Sedalia holds first service since 2016 fire

3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago Sunday, February 02 2020 Feb 2, 2020 Sunday, February 02, 2020 8:36:00 AM CST February 02, 2020 in News
By: Kathryn Merck, KOMU 8 Reporter

SEDALIA — Sunday services at First United Methodist Church celebrated a new facility after years without a second facility following a 2016 fire. 

Pastor Jim Downing was flying back from Israel when he received the phone call that the downtown Sedalia church had burned to the ground.

"We lost a building that celebrated 127 years of worship," Downing said.

Over those 127 years, parishioners held all kinds of events including weddings, funerals, baptisms, and even family dinners.

The cause of the fire was never determined.

The night after the fire, 500 people attended a prayer vigil to grieve and give thanks for the memories that came with the building.

Following the vigil, the faith community began thinking of ways to rebuild. First United tried to build a facility downtown at the old location, but the 1888 property was no longer big enough to hold a facility large enough for all of the worshippers.

The new facility fits 400 people in its fixed pews, and was modeled to resemble the original downtown location. Many parishioners said this new building brings back many memories of the old facility downtown.

Carolyn Miller joined First United Methodist Church in 1961, and she said the service brought back many memories.

"My children were baptized here," she said. "My daughter was married here. Having this new facility look just like the old location caused me to be very emotional at the service today."

Other parishioners are excited for more opportunities for the community to come together.

Cristy Poppinga, a parishioner at First United, grew up in the old church. When her daughter was diagnosed with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, she turned to their faith community for guidance.

"They claimed that the old church was a dying church," Poppinga said. "I never thought that was true, but today's service proved this church is very much alive."

The new facility, called the Thompson Site, will hold weekly services on Sundays at 11 a.m. The other facility, called the Celebration Center, holds worship on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m.,and Sunday services at 8:35 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.

For more information, visit www.firstsayyes.com

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