- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

BELMOND, Iowa (AP) - St. John Lutheran Church in Belmond is closing its doors after almost 112 years in the community.

The church was to hold its final service on Sunday, the Mason City Globe Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1dCOrdo ).

Rich Kling, vice president of the congregation, said the church is closing due to lack of attendance.

During the 1950s, attendance was 140 to 150 worshippers each Sunday. Now, “15 is a good Sunday,” Kling said.

The church has been without a permanent pastor since 2013.

“We just operate on supply clergy,” Kling said.

The congregation was officially organized in September 1903 in a schoolhouse 1.5 miles east of Belmond. The church’s current building on First Street was built in 1926.

In the early years of the church, services were conducted in German.

Iowa Specialty Hospitals and Clinics of Belmond bought the church property five years ago and rented it to the church so it could still hold services. The arrangement was cheaper for the church, Kling said.

“It kept us alive a couple more years,” he said.

The hospital uses the church building as an education center. A parsonage next to the church will be rented by hospital staff members moving to Belmond from outside the area while they look for permanent housing.


Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

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