Letting go of longtime house of worship, Evangelistic Center Church looks to the future

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Leaders of a historic Kansas City church are looking to rebuild their organization from out of the ashes.

Evangelistic Center Church at Truman and Troost was destroyed by a fire that broke out early Sunday. The damage was so extensive, crews set to work to demolish the remaining structure.

Now the congregation is letting go of their longtime house of worship and looking toward the future.

For more than five decades, this historic church as touched so many lives. A fire destroyed the building over the weekend, but the spirit of the church remains in the people and their strong leaders.

"There was a sign that was above the our sanctuary that's been from the beginning, my grandfather back in the early 50s," Pastor John Crane explained.

But now that sentimental sign, and a lot more, are gone.

A beloved church filled with love and hope for more than 50 years now lies in ruins, destroyed by a fire that burned all day Sunday and into Monday. Plumes of smoke could be seen for miles.

"My father preached his last message in this sanctuary. It's just devastating," Crane said.

Crane and his team are weighing all long term options over what they will do next. Starting this Sunday, Crane said he and his more than 300 church members will gather at their satellite worship center at 67th and Neiman Road in Shawnee.

"We're going to join together with them for four weeks at ten o'clock on Sundays, and that'll give us time to pray and to look for an alternate location," Crane said.

One future location on the table is the Kansas City Scottish Rite Temple, at Linwood and The Paseo.

Before Evangelistic Center Church opened its doors, the site was the original meeting place for the Masons.

Church leaders said it was the labor and love of the Scottish Rite Masons back in the early 1900s that built this building.

A place that has made a difference feeding and clothing families during the holidays vows now it will rely on its faith to continue serving.

"It's about our trust and our faith in God," Crane said.

Crews were still working on tearing down the original walls of the church Tuesday evening. Church leaders said the newer side of the church might also have to come down. They will know more in a few weeks after they meet with insurance adjusters.