- Associated Press - Monday, September 7, 2015

CLAY CENTER, Neb. (AP) - Some members of a 125-year-old Clay Center church gathered to share memories and worship at a special service at the church’s original rural site.

Sunday’s gathering was one of four special services scheduled for Zion Lutheran Church to mark its 125 years of worship, the Hastings Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1IT1TRS ). At Sunday’s service, people sat in lawn chairs in the grass and fought strong winds that blew hymnal pages and threatened to scatter donations in the offering basket.

“This was the original site,” said the pastor, Del Klover. He said it was an “exciting and awesome feeling to stand on the edge of 125 years of history and look back.”

The church was organized on Nov. 11, 1890, and opened its first building in 1891 on land a few miles northwest of Clay Center in southern Nebraska. Sixteen years later, another church was built. The U.S. Navy took over the property for the Naval Ammunition Depot in 1942, so the church and adjacent parsonage were moved to Clay Center on Feb. 9, 1943.

The church was then destroyed by fire in 1951. Norma Burkland, a church member since childhood, remembers that night.

“It was in the middle of the night,” Burkland said. “I lived way in the south part of town and you could hear the fire sirens.”

She said services were held in the Clay Center movie theater until the new church building was constructed later that year.


Information from: Hastings Tribune, https://www.hastingstribune.com

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