Volunteers to help rebuild Assembly of God Church
Now that six months have passed since a tornado destroyed Tonganoxie's Assembly of God Church, parishioners are ready to rebuild.
Waneta Karriker, whose husband, Herman, is pastor at the church, said she's hopeful work will begin soon.
"A lot of our labor is going to be volunteer hopefully all of it," she said. "We're going into the winter months, and that's not the best. I wanted to be in by Easter."
When the May 11 storm hit Tonganoxie, the church's roof and main floor were destroyed. The walls tumbled down and the roof landed on top.
However, the lower level of the church the site of Sunday school classrooms essentially was untouched. So that area will be used as the base for the new church building.
Plans call for a building that will be about 25 feet longer than the previous church. The building will front Sixth Street. Parking will be available west of the church, and a few spaces will be included off Church Street.
The 3,400-square-foot main level will include a vestibule, a nursery, an office and the sanctuary. A four-foot steeple will rise above the church. The 2,400-square-foot lower level will feature fellowship area and classrooms.
"It will change the looks of it considerably," said Don Wood, who will over see construction and volunteer recruitment.
Wood, an Assembly of God construction missionary for Kansas, will be busy.
"I'll be spending most of my Sundays in churches around the state to recruit help and help with finances, as well," he said.
The project will cost an estimated $350,000 for materials and professional fees, such as for architectural drawings and engineering plans. The church's membership tops out at 30 or 40, Karriker said.
So without volunteer labor, the church could not be rebuilt.
Recently, Wood and Don Atchison, who lives in Ottawa, pulled black plastic that had been nailed to the old sanctuary floor. Although church members had hoped to save the wood floor, water and heat have taken too large a toll on it.
"As long as the building's in progress, I'll be here," Atchison said.
He's a member of the Assembly of God's Recreational Vehicle Missions America Placement Service. And it's likely that many other members of the service will help with the rebuilding project.
Some volunteers specialize in certain areas, such as plumbing, electrical work or drywall, Wood said.
It's likely members of the RV groups will stay at Camp Mount Herman northwest of Tonganoxie, Karriker said.
Because the project is starting in late fall, Karriker's eyes will be on the weather.
"I know some people around would like to have a hard winter to freeze the bugs, but we're praying for a mild winter," she said.