A candlelight prayer vigil was hosted Thursday night at the corner of Fifth Street and Osage Avenue for the congregation and community to come together and support one another after the loss of the First United Methodist Church to fire late Wednesday night.
“God’s got us, it’s all good,” Dana Gillig, a member of the First United Methodist Church Leadership Council, said Thursday morning. “We want to get together tonight to be with each other and offer our support to one another.
“We also want to give our thanks to the firefighters and community for all of their support,” Gillig added. “The outpouring from all of the area churches has simply been overwhelming and we are so very, very grateful for everything.”
Gillig said the council and congregation were on a prayer journey as to the direction they will take in the future.
“It’s devastating to think of the loss, so much of our history was in the building,” Gillig said. “We’ve lost such a historical piece with the fire.
“We have current members in our congregation who are fourth generation,” Gillig added. “There are people who have grown up and were baptized and married here,”
The council is hoping to save the cornerstone of the church, which was laid in 1888, to preserve a small portion of their history.
Until the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office releases the building to the church, the council cannot assess if there are other portions of the church that can be saved.
“People from all over have been wonderful in offering support and prayer assistance,” Gillig said.
There has been an outpouring of support from Methodist churches throughout the region on social media, including Missouri and Kansas. Pastor Steve Conner, of Taylor Chapel United Methodist Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, spoke with the Democrat Thursday afternoon in hopes of offering support to FUMC in Sedalia.
“We can relate to what they’re going through — our sanctuary burned about three years ago on New Year’s,” Conner said. “Because of our experience, we’d be happy to lend our support however we can. … I know it can be a chaotic day. I remember ours like it was yesterday — walking around, dust settling, firefighters still running around. It happened overnight and then you have to move forward and put a plan in place. We have experience with this type of situation; I’m not an expert, but we want to offer our support and of course our prayers.”
The congregation of the church will move their services to the Celebration Center located at 1701 W. 32nd Street this Sunday for worship.
Another story about Thursday night’s candlelight vigil will appear in the weekend edition of the Democrat.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484