KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On a sunny, cold, late afternoon, about 50 members and supporters of Westport Presbyterian Church in midtown Kansas City gathered in their church parking lot for a special occasion.
“It was of course very sad and very shocking immediately after,” says church member Karen Elmer.
She’s talking about a ferocious fire that destroyed their 107-year-old church building on Dec. 29, 2011. The fire erupted in the church’s attic near an air conditioning unit and caused almost seven million dollars in damages at the historic church.
One year later, Saturday was an emotional time as Pastor Scott Myers and some of his faithful followers braved the cold to reflect on the terrible loss and the difficult year they’ve had to endure.
“It’ was just shocking and it’s still shocking,” Pastor Myrers told FOX 4’s Robert Townsend Saturday.
Even though the church has insurance, rebuilding will be a long and expensive journey .
Moreover, the church will also have to replace many of its community outreach programs including: efforts to feed the hungry, help the homeless and reach out to neighborhood youth.
“The congregation’s stronger, so we do have the faith that we’ll end up with a good building, but because everybody loss a lot of stuff in the midst of the fire, it will take at least two difficult years before we rebuild,” says Westport Presbyterian’s leader.
The church has held its services at the Villa of Kansas City at 4120 Baltimore since February. During a breakfast there at 9:30 a.m. on Sun., Dec. 30, Pastor Myers will unveil new designs about their plans to rebuild their church.
The meeting is open to the public.
If all goes according to plan, the new Wesport Presbyterian Church will be completed in 2014 right at its historic location at 201 Westport Rd.