This is the fifth in a series of Faith In Action reports on how churches, ministries, and people from the Iowa United Methodist Church are making a difference and changing lives following the derecho disaster in August 2020.
Bishop Laurie Haller and Assistant to the Bishop, Rev. Dr. Harlan Gillespie visited Salem UMC in Van Horne, Iowa on Friday, August 28 on their tour of derecho damaged churches. Rev. Leonard “Doc” Ranson and the Trustees chair, gave them a tour of the church’s beautiful sanctuary and explained how Salem UMC how it plays a pivotal role in the town of Van Horne.
The severe winds of the Derecho blew open the locked front doors of the church building damaging the entryway of the sanctuary, tore off shingles on the roof, and the exterior walls of the church. The driving rain made its way into the church through the roof causing the ceiling tiles to fall on the grand piano which was damaged beyond repair.
“This town takes care of itself,” said Doc. “We take care of this congregation and anyone else who needs help.”
The church had completed a major updating and renovations not long before the storm. Along with the church building, the town and area farmsteads were significantly damaged by the storm.
The church has been worshiping online with excellent attendance and plans are to continue worshiping online when they return for in-person worship. Salem UMC is deeply involved with the surrounding community.
Pastor Doc just celebrated his 89th
“What I am most impressed about, is that Pastor Doc posts a scripture and daily thought every day on Facebook
. He did miss a few days when the power was out in Van Horne because of the derecho, but then he was right back at it,” said Bishop Laurie.
You can help others affected by the derecho by giving to the Iowa Disaster Response Advance Special #223 online
or by mailing a check to the Iowa Annual Conference, 2301 Rittenhouse Street, Des Moines, IA 50321 with Advance Special #223 in the memo line.