Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Praying for the tornado survivors March 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 11:19 PM
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ON SUNDAY I ATTENDED morning worship services at Peace Lutheran Church in Echo, the sister congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Vesta, the congregation of my youth.

St. John’s members have been worshipping at Peace since a July 1, 2011, series of downbursts with wind speeds of 90 – 100 mph ripped the south roof from the sanctuary.

St. John's, hours after the July 1 storm tore through Vesta. Photo courtesy of Brian Kletscher.

Just to the north, west and east in this region of southwestern Minnesota, EF-1 tornadoes with winds of 95 – 105 mph wreaked havoc on farms and on the neighboring community of Belview.

Eight months later, St. John’s is still in the process of rebuilding.

Eight months after the storm, St. John's is still under construction with a new addition to the right. Congregants had hoped to be back in the church by Easter, but that likely will not happen until May.

The narthex was expanded and a pastor's office and handicapped accessible bathroom were added on the southwest side of the church built in 1974. This photo and the one above were taken on Saturday.

Despite the inconvenience of driving additional miles to worship and the temporary loss of their church home, St. John’s members realize the situation could have been so much worse. No lives were lost in the storms and their church could be salvaged.

This we—visitors and members of the two sister congregations—understood as we bowed our heads to pray for the survivors of the recent deadly tornadoes.

© Copyright 2012 by Audrey Kletscher Helbling


4 Responses to “Praying for the tornado survivors”

  1. katyarich Says:

    It’s very sad the way Tornados can easily destroy houses and people, I’m glad that no lives were lost and hope you will have this church finished by Easter as the community wish, have a lovely week:)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, the people of Vesta and the surrounding area were fortunate the July 1, 2011, strong winds did not destroy homes or cause injury or loss of life. Other roofs were ripped from buildings, the grain elevator damaged and many, many trees lost. But those can all be replaced. Thank you for your concern.

  2. Oy, tornadoes are definitely one of the things that freak me out about living in MN! The closest one has come since I’ve been here is about 12 miles away…we happened to be out of town at the time…but that was WAY too close for comfort. (That was in Sibley, IA, 2 years ago.)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Tornadoes freak me out and I grew up with them. The Tracy, Minnesota, tornado in which nine people lost their lives is the reason I am so afraid of twisters.

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