Lorain church bounces back after arson destroys historic building

Posted at 4:19 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 17:17:40-04

It was August 2014 when flames ravaged the Fist Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lorain.

Investigators ruled the fire an arson.

The arsonist has never been caught.

The historic church and organ, altogether worth millions of dollars, were destroyed.

Pastor Rosalina Rivera said workers are putting the finishing touches on the new 22,000 square foot building and church on Washington Avenue.

Rivera said the congregation is excited about the new church, but misses the history of the former, nearly 100 year old church.

“It’s also been a beautiful learning experience with this congregation as they’ve learned to adapt and to be flexible, and to learn that things are going to change and be different," Rivera said.

The former church had a small food pantry that helped the less fortunate and homeless. Now, they’ll have a much bigger pantry with a large walk-in freezer for cold storage that will allow them to feed many more people.

“The congregation was really committed to continue to serve this community and the homeless, and there’s just a lot of need in the downtown area,” Rivera said.

The new church was built with acoustics in mind for the choir and a new organ, which is being built in Oregon.

“So the bricks themselves are designed for acoustics and they’re a special type of brick, then the beveled walls on the entrances and back of the sanctuary space are designed to help the sound kind of bounce off of each other,” Rivera said.

Rivera said she’s excited to hold worship services in the new building next month, but it's about so much more.

“It's the people, it’s not about the structure it’s not about the walls it’s about the people that worship within, that’s what held this congregation together," Rivera said.

The church is scheduled to hold its first worship service November 19.