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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Methodist congregation holds downtown service after disastrous fire

  • The Syracuse Methodist Church held worship services at the Green Room in downtown Syracuse a week after a fire at the church building on Jan. 5.

    The congregation is planning to meet at the Methodist Church in Unadilla in the coming weeks.
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  • The congregation of the Syracuse Methodist Church held worship service in the Green Room at Fifth Street Centre a week after a disastrous fire at the 104-year-old church building.
    The Sunday school met at the Syracuse Public Library and Brooke Bennett was among the children handing out the “church fire survival kits” the class had assembled.
    It included a penny to make “cents” of it all, a rubber band to be “flexible,” a paper clip to “hold things together” and a toothpick to “pick out the good things in people.”
    About 105 people attended the service, which included the opening song “This Is a Day of New Beginnings” and the continuation of Pastor Gary Ganger's sermon series on “Freedom in Grace, Rules are Made to be Broken.”
    On display was a wood carving of the prayer “Our Father.” Arthur Whitehead had carved and donated the scroll saw art in 1997.
    It had been encased in a block of ice in the church sanctuary is expected to be among the few items to escape serious damage.
    A bound history of the church, compiled by Mr. and Mrs. Willard Strong in 1959, was also available.
    It said a financial drive for the new church began in 1909 under the guidance of Revs. M.E. Gilbert and later A.O. Hinson.
    By Jan. 1, 1910, $10,000 had been pledged and plans were drawn up by architect J.R. Smith of Lincoln.
    The 86 x 49-foot building would be constructed of Coffeyville red pressed brick with a basement beneath.
    The main floor was divided between an auditorium and a league room with balcony above.Services were held at the Syracuse Opera House during construction.
    The cornerstone was laid on July 12, 1910, with Rev. Gilbert officiating the cornerstone ceremony.
    Placed in the cornerstone were a late edition of the Bible, 10 pennies dated in 1910, a GAR button, copy of the “Methodist Discipline,” an issued of the Nebraska State Journal, a copy of the Syracuse Journal Democrat, a list of 160 church members and a list of those who contributed to the building fund.
    The education unit was constructed in 1959, with construction captains David McPherson, Charles Miller, Frank Sorrell and Gordon Strong.
    The congregation is planning to meet in the coming weeks at the Methodist Church in Unadilla.
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