“We’re back!” Rev. Dan Krutz excitedly said to every church member he saw.
St. Francis Episcopal Church, in Denham Springs, LA made the long-awaited return to its campus last Sunday (Jan. 21) nearly a year and a half after the church was devastated in flooding during the area’s worst natural disaster on record.
More than 100 members of the congregation came together to celebrate the special achievement, filling nearly every seat in the new-look sanctuary. They were glad to be back after more than 17 months shoehorning their worship in between the two services at the nearby United Methodist Church.
When the church was first built 40 years ago, its initial purpose was to serve as a temporary site until a bigger, more grand building could be built on the church’s five-acre lot. That grander building never arrived, but the comfortable parish complex served the congregation well until massive floods in 2016 swamped the campus under nearly two feet of water.
Almost immediately after the floods though, the church committed itself to recovery. In a note on their website they celebrated their resilience.
“We are going to Recover, We are going to Rebuild, and we are going to Rejoice in God’s love.
And, with God’s Blessing, this is exactly what we have done. What a wonderful time for God’s people to rejoice when we return home to our campus located at 726 Maple Street DS, La. It has been over 18 months after the great flood and there has been many people who have answered the call of our church in the Recovery and the Rebuild phase. Holy Spirit has been with us in our struggle and now we have RETURNED HOME!”
And now building on the momentum from the recovery effort, plans are underway to build that “grander” sanctuary. According to longtime church member Jim Bruce, a mechanical engineer for more than 30 years who’s acting as project manager, plans for the new sanctuary should be ready within weeks. Construction will hopefully begin in March to be completed by September.
h/t Livingston Parish News for elements of this story
main image: photo by David Gray, Livingston Parish News