CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Salem United Methodist Church lost its century-old building on 1st avenue in the 2008 flood. On Sunday, the congregation celebrated a groundbreaking for a $2 million expansion for the building they’ve been in since 2010.
“We’re very excited. A lot of joy today,” said Reverend John Louk, who recalled arriving at the church two weeks after the flood.
“When I showed up, the Lovely Lane United Methodist church had already taken Salem into its building and offered hospitality, and we were there for several weeks. Then we moved to a building that was owned by the Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, and we were there for some time, and then moved to the Kenwood Park United Methodist Church.”
But the moving is over, and after 6 years, ground is being broken to make room for an 18,000 square foot expansion. The building will give the church all the room it needs.
“Sunday school education rooms and a youth room in the basement, and a nice large sanctuary so that we have room for growth,” said building committee chair Linda Curson.
Curson said the two-story addition will also feature a basement with a walk-out patio, for enjoying the church’s large backyard.
“God gave us this land for a reason, and we’re just anxious to be able to use it to serve Him,” Curson said.
Rev. Louk said the flood took away many things; businesses, homes, and personal belongings were destroyed.
“The time of the flood was obviously one of great destruction for this entire city, and for some more than others,” Louk said.
However, this group still has their fellowship, and they’re using that bond to create something new. Reverend Louk said construction will start in the next few weeks. He hopes the expansion will be complete in time for Easter next year.