A fundraiser, called “Let’s Build a Church!” was held on Saturday, May 7 in the Elk Lake elementary school gymnasium to raise money for the rebuilding of South Montrose Community Church that was destroyed by fire in August 2021.
Mary Hinds said that the church was professionally power washed on Aug. 11, 2021 and so she decided to take a picture of the church the next morning, while it was sparkling clean. She took the photo.
That night, lightning struck the church, and it caught fire. Hinds said she was the first to arrive at the scene, and she also took pictures of the fire while firefighters were struggling to put it out.
The flyer for the event noted, “Our community has been so generous so far! The cost of building is expensive though, so we ask you to join us for some fun and fundraising! ”
Some of the fun included a silent auction, baked goods auction, and games and crafts for the kids.
A concert by local musicians topped off the night.
Performing was the church’s own SMCC Choir, Kelly Pratt, Gary Phillips, Ben and Kristen Hinds, Corky Staats, Hayden Brunges and “Saving Graces”, a ladies’ ensemble.
The crowd filled the rows of chairs set up in the gym, and the money raised on Saturday exceeded $16,700, Hinds said.
Event organizers, Patti Gesford, Charmaine Bissell, and Mary Hinds, hoped to raise $10,000, so the event was certainly a success.
According to Hinds, the cost estimate to rebuild the church is $1.5 million. She said that the church hopes to break ground “quite soon.”
Groundbreaking was originally planned for mid-March but has been delayed.
Pat Mooney is the contractor for the project, and hopes to complete the building in six months, Hinds said.
The congregation has been meeting at the Fairdale Community Church on Sundays at 9 a.m., separately from Fairdale’s congregation,
“We are nomad Christians for now,” Hinds said. The church’s pastor is Laura Kincaid, a former elementary teacher who also pastors at the First United Methodist Church in New Milford.
The congregation has about 40 regular attenders, with about 110 members on the books.
The music performed included Country/Western, hymns, and Contemporary Christian songs that seemed to be carefully selected for the event.
Ben and Kristen Hinds sang “The Old Rugged Cross, a favorite of Ben’s father, and dedicated it to Ben’s mom for her birthday and Mother’s Day.
Hayden Brunges sang: “Give Me Jesus”, “I need you every hour,” and his much requested “I can only imagine.”
The church thanked the Elk Lake School district and administrators for use the facility, and offered their gratitude to those who donated items, food, (especially Darrow Catering) that helped make the event a success. Special thanks were also offered to Kelly Pratt for providing the sound system and to Martha Neuberger for providing the keyboard.