Waverly church dedicates new post-flood space - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waverly church dedicates new post-flood space

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

Many communities are still rebuilding after the historic floods of 2008.  In Waverly, a new bladder dam is up and running.  It's a system the city hopes will minimize damage in future flooding. 

When the flood waters crested in 2008, Waverly's Peace United Church of Christ took on two feet of water inside the main sanctuary, ruining the building's foundation.  Now, three years later, the church is celebrating a new home out of the flood zone.

A hallmark of the church's beauty is the stained glass windows that were salvaged from the church's former century-old building.

"There's just all kinds of potential out here having a nice, new facility like this to be able to utilize," said Rick Wellman, lifelong member of Peace UCC.

But getting the brand new church up and going hasn't been easy.  The church used to be located just steps from the river.  It had taken on water before--but nothing like in 2008.  That historic flooding forced the church to move.

Deciding where the new church would go was a small step.  It's now out of the flood plain, along 11th Street Southeast.  The big challenge came in raising money to finance a new house of worship.  But church members came through by pledging enough to fund more than just the sanctuary.

"When we originally designed what we were going to do, we looked at what we had and what we had pledged and said, 'Well, we can get X amount done based on these numbers.'  And since then, we've actually accomplished far more.  We've got the offices being finished, Sunday school rooms done, and most of the fellowship hall is done.  We've got a little carpet, trim yet and doors to be put on and then the building is pretty much complete," said Peace UCC Pastor Jon Hennings.

What's more encouraging still is that since the new church first opened its doors, attendance has been climbing.

"When I came to the church 8 years ago, there was 23 there on my first Sunday morning here.  We'd grown to an average of about 55 or 60.  And since we've been in the new building, we've averaged in the 80s.  And it's not uncommon for us to have 90 or 100 in worship," Pastor Hennings said.

The church has faith that its new home will allow it to keep growing, providing a place for community worship for many years to come.

The old Peace United Church of Christ on 1st St. NW in Waverly was torn down following the floods.  Until the new church could be built, Peace UCC members shared space with Grace Baptist in Waverly.

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