Members celebrate 113-year-old church’s reopening
Sunday morning dawned anew for the Tonganoxie Evangelical Friends Church.
The church, which marked its grand opening celebration, was home to about a dozen worshippers Sunday morning.
The Rev. Mike Waggoner, the church's new pastor, said the church came to his concern about 18 months ago when he read a story in The Mirror about another church's offer to buy the 113-year-old Friends Church to use for the thrift shop.
In recent years the church, at the southwest corner of Fourth and Shawnee, had seen a decline in attendance. Several years ago, church members began meeting in private homes. So the church building itself, and the parsonage next door, weren't being used.
Waggoner said that once he read about the church's history and realized that the building could have been sold, he became interested.
And then this past July, after lightning struck the church's roof, and Waggoner, who was pastor at the McLouth Stanwood Friends Church, stopped to see how much damage the lightning had done.
It was then -- when he first stepped inside the church -- Waggoner said, that he felt the call to become the pastor of the Tonganoxie church, and he contacted David Robinson, general superintendent of the Evangelical Friends Church Mid-America Yearly Meeting, in Wichita.
"The Lord has worked through the local paper, through Dr. Robinson and even through a lightning strike on this building," Waggoner said.
Robinson also spoke at Sunday's session. He said he realized several years ago that Tonganoxie ranked as one of the fastest-growing cities in Kansas. So he said it seemed likely that the church could grow.
"We're just thrilled that God has called Mike Waggoner to reopen this church," Robinson said. "... We believe in Tonganoxie and so we wanted to devote some time, effort and finances to put this all together. ... I'm excited about the potential for God to move this forward."