- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - The roaring of drills and smell of sawdust tickle the air as workers labor outside Faith Lutheran Evangelical Church on the corner of West Ridgeway Avenue and West Fourth Street.

Retired church members from the group Laborers for Christ have been working on adding a new sanctuary to the building.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1kA8shr ) Laborers for Christ, a volunteer-based organization that stems from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund, has been traveling across the country to help rebuild, remodel and update churches and schools since 1980.

Pastor Edward Killian, who has been at Faith Lutheran Evangelical for about eight years, is excited to finally have the project going. He reached out to the Laborers for Christ after being introduced to their work in Le Mars.

“(The Laborers) have been just terrific and they’ve saved us about 30 percent of the cost,” Killian said. “We will finally have a proper worship space.”

As the membership of his church has been growing dramatically for the past five years, Killian admits the building no longer met fire code.

Along with the new sanctuary, which will be approximately 48 by 70 feet, the church will be receiving a face-lift with new paint and furniture closer to the sanctuary’s completion, set in mid- to late September.

Five laborers are currently on site, originating from California, Nevada, Iowa, and Illinois.

Dan Werner and his wife, Carolyne, from Geneseo, Illinois, decided to join the Laborers after a fire devastated their home congregation in 2009.

“We know what it’s like to lose a church,” Carolyne said.

After the Laborers helped rebuild their home church, Carolyne and Dan sold their house of 13 years, bought a storage unit and currently live in their mobile home, much like the other laborers.

“We originally knew nothing about (Laborers for Christ) and they just kept rebuilding our church for as long as they could stay,” Carolyne said. “Once that happened, my husband and I knew that this was something we wanted to do and be a part of.”

Dan emphasizes they have brought their services to help better the community.

“We’re here to help (the church) and anyone from the community that wants to be a part of it,” Dan said.

Along with rebuilding, the Laborers attend worship services at the church they’re working on.

“We build strong friendships and get so attached to the community,” Carolyne said. “You get close with people and then it’s hard to leave.”

Church services are continuing as normal.

“We want the public to come see us,” Killian said. “We’re planting the flag, not retreating, and we want to welcome people to our new home.”


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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