Church Celebrates Coming "Home for the Holidays"

Many may be "home for the holidays" but the phrase applies to an entire church this Christmas in Mishawaka.

Just in the "nick" of time Albright United Methodist opened its doors for Christmas services after a major fire this fall.

The opening took hundreds of volunteers from the church and many donations from the community.

In fact Granger United Methodist donated money to help speed up the clean up.

Until the weekend before Christmas the church had been meeting at the Battell Center.

Members of the Albright United Methodist Church are celebrating the fact that they are truly "home for the holidays."

“Its a great feeling not just a good feeling but a great feeling. Its a real milestone,” says Dick Frantz chairman of the church’s board of trustees.

“It would be strange to be elsewhere,” says church member Pam Waidner.

Although it might be strange to meet in the church's gym members are grateful to be back inside the actual building.

It's a goal they set after a fire partially burnt the church to the ground eleven weeks ago.

“I started pushing that on the second week of October week after the fire… if we don't have a goal… if you don't have something out in front of you, it probably won't work,” says Frantz.

“I bet there have been more than a thousand people outside of the congregation who have come in and helped us so that's great blessing,” says head pastor Dennis Ingle.

The team effort comes after the fire when members became re-committed to the church's ultimate purpose.

“The church is really not the building. It’s the people and it did bring people a lot closer together,” says Ingle.

Volunteers have been posting progress reports on the church’s website to keep the congregation updated on the fire clean up.

It will probably be two years though until everything is back to normal and fully restored.

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