Salem United Methodist Church Finds New Home

By Molly Rossiter

Several messages have sprung up on homes and businesses impacted by flooding, like this one at Salem United Methodist Church, 225 First Ave. SW, Tuesday, July 15, 2008. (Jeff Raasch/The Gazette)

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CEDAR RAPIDS - The congregation of Salem United Methodist Church will soon have a new home but it comes as another church decides to close its doors.

The congregation will take over the building currently housing New Creation United Methodist Church, 3715 33rd Ave. SW, in Cedar Rapids, when that church closes at the end of next month, said the Rev. John Louk, Salem’s pastor.

“They have offered that to Salem and we have accepted that offer,” Louk said. Under the agreement, Salem would assume the remaining $312,000 of New Creation’s mortgage.

Salem’s church building on First Avenue was destroyed when the Cedar River flooded the area in 2008. In a buyout agreement with the City of Cedar Rapids, Salem is set to receive up to $750,000 for its First Avenue building. Louk said board members are considering paying off the New Creation mortgage with those funds.

The Rev. Kathleen Moore, who serves as pastor to both New Creation and Faith United Methodist churches in Cedar Rapids, said the decision to close New Creation was a financial one.

“We don’t have the money to keep going,” she said. “For a couple of years now it’s become harder and harder to decide what we were going to do.”

She said the church is behind on her health insurance and pension payments, and a congregation that at one time had over 300 members is down to under 100.

In the almost two years since Salem’s building was destroyed the congregation has had two temporary homes, the first in the former Kenwood Park Presbyterian Church building at 327 35th St. NE and currently in shared space at Kenwood United Methodist Church, 175 34th St. NE.

Louk said he wasn’t sure when the Salem congregation would move into the new building but said it takes possession of the New Creations building on July 1.

Moore said some New Creation members were hoping Salem would “come right in and have the first service right away” after New Creation’s last service June 27.

“I doubt that will happen; I don’t know how long that gap will be before there will be services here again,” she said.

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