First United Methodist Church Construction Slows
If you’ve driven by the First United Methodist Church in Downtown Burlington lately, you may not have seen too much going on.
Pastor Mike Orthel says construction hasn’t stopped but it has slowed..
“Construction has been ongoing. We did run into some cash flow problems, and the funding that we had in place fell through at the last minute. We had to do some scrambling to make up that difference”.
The church, on the southeast corner of 5th and Washington, went up in flames in the early morning hours of April 29th, 2007. 29-year-old Kevin Michael Ravelin of Burlington pled guilty to six federal counts of arson. He also tried to set fire to the Presbyterian Church across the street.
With construction continuing, the church is close to being finished..
“The things that need to be done to finalize the project are basically safety issues. They will need to be completed before the city will give us an occupancy permit. Things like completing the hand rails on the stairs, finishing the balcony and the proper guard rails so people don’t have to fear falling over the edge”.
The congregation that had been attending the church prior to the fire, was invited to worship at Grace United Methodist Church on Angular Street in Burlington…
“They’ve been wonderful hosts and partners. We’ve done a lot of things together and yet we’ve maintained our individual congregation at that one location for all the years it’s taken to rebuild our space”.