Augustana Lutheran Church was filled with excitement and joy when the congregation gathered in the sanctuary at 321 University Ave. W. on June 24. The people sat on chairs, not pews, but they were in God's house.
The sanctuary has been cleaned and sanitized. The stained glass windows are intact and allowing rays of sunshine to pass through. The wall studs are visible and the floors remain bare at the building that was just one of many structures damaged or destroyed by raging Souris River floodwaters in 2011.
The Rev. Michon Weingartner said, "We continue to discern the next steps for the congregation and how the building will look as we address the ministries that God is calling us to do.
The Rev. Michon Weingartner, pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church in Minot, prepares for Holy Communion at a make-shift altar in the sanctuary of the church on June 24. Katherine Schnable, youth assistant to the pastor, is at her left.
"We are hope-filled children of God called to walk with our brothers and sisters of Minot and the surrounding area," she said.
Worship services will continue to be held in the church Sundays at 9:30 a.m. until fall when the temperatures start dropping again. The church boiler system was ruined by the flood and without heat the church will not be usable for services. Members have been gathering for services in the Student Union building on the campus of Minot State University in recent months.
"The walls are bare, the floor is bare, but returning to our church will lift us up as we prayerfully look to our future," Al Torrington said. Torrington is president of the church council.
There is hope for Augustana church. Members have not given up the ship. The "storm" came and the seas became rough yet the prayers and endurance of the congregation continue.
They are back!