Assembly of God Church completes building project
Dedication service, open house set for December
In the words of John Hansen, Tonganoxie's Assembly of God Church is open for business.
And Hansen, who is pastor at the 37-year-old church, couldn't be more pleased. After all, his parishioners have been forced to borrow worship space since the May 2000 tornado all-but destroyed their church.
But because of the thousands of hours of volunteers' time and because of the thousands of dollars of donors' money, the church rebuilt and, indeed, is open for business.
And church members are planning a dedication service and open house for the community on Dec. 9. The district superintendent of the Assembly of God churches will speak at the 10:45 a.m. morning service, and the open house will begin at 3 p.m.
"This is a culmination of what the tornado did, to wrap this thing up," said Hansen. "Difficulty hits, but you survive and get through it. And sometimes, it's bigger and better than what you had."
The May 11, 2000, tornado all-but destroyed the church, which sits at the southwest corner of Sixth and Church streets. But immediately, church members began to plan how to rebuild. And members of 20 other churches rallied behind those efforts.
"Basically, most of our help was from Assembly of God churches in Kansas and Missouri," said Waneta Karriker, whose husband, Herman, is pastor emeritus of the church. "It was one miracle right after another."
From woodwork to electrical work, and from surveying to masonry, volunteers completed project after project.
"Some of the workmanship that was done, you couldn't afford to pay for," Hansen said. '' Not only did God send us volunteers. He sent us these professionals, these specialists."
While they were displaced, church members held services at Tonganoxie Christian Church and at the city library.
Assembly of God members conducted their first service in their new building on Oct. 7 a full 17 months after their last service. And now, the 25 to 30 regular church attendees are enjoying their new home.
During the rebuilding, the church's orientation was changed from Church Street to Sixth Street. A new foyer was constructed. And in addition to the sanctuary, the main floor features offices and a nursery area. On the lower level, a full-size kitchen was built, along with a fellowship area and a Sunday school classroom.