Burlington church holds service for first time in six years

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A Burlington church held its first service in more than half of a decade after arson destroyed the building in 2007.

Six years and $12 million later, church members, families, and friends were back at First United Methodist Church on Sunday, August 25, 2013. Church member, Jerry Jochims said although there were a few adaptations and changes, the church was designed to be similar to the stricter of the old building.

“It isn’t going to be a typical Sunday, but it should be a very exciting one,” Jochim said.

Rev. Mike Orthel said having the place of worship back brings closure and settlement to the congregation.

While the church was being rebuilt, Orthel said that Grace United Methodist Church took them in and shared their space with the First United congregation.

“We’ve had a lot of tremendous times,” said Orthel. “We can’t say enough good things about our hosts at Grace United Methodist Church in town. They really adopted us, and embraced us, and gave us room to be who we are and that held us together.”

Orthel added that without them the journey would have been much more difficult.

Jochims said the church is planning to expand by purchasing and restoring a building nearby to be used as classrooms or space for mission work or receptions.

First United Methodist Church before

First United Methodist Church: Before

First United Methodist Church after

First United Methodist Church: After