Saturday, May 2, 2015

St. John Lutheran Church in Belmond to close after 112 years

BELMOND | St. John Lutheran Church in Belmond is having its final service on Sunday, May 3, after almost 112 years in the community.
Rich Kling, vice president of the congregation, said the church is closing due to lack of attendance.
It's sad but "it had to happen," he said.
During the 1950s attendance was 140 to 150 worshipers each Sunday, but 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.
When cold weather set in, the German United Methodist Church — located at the current St. John site at 403 First St. S.E. — was rented for 50 cents per Sunday. The congregation soon purchased that church, as well as the parsonage.
Services were conducted in German during the early years of the church. 
The current church building was constructed in 1926 using material salvaged from the old church. A new parsonage was built in 1947. 

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