By Ryan Richardson
Peace Lutheran Church members will break ground for a new church at 2 p.m. Sunday at 3100 N. St. Louis Ave. The church’s previous building at 20th Street and Wisconsin Avenue was destroyed in the May 2011 tornado.
“It is something we have truly looked forward to for so long,” said pastor Kathy Redpath. “It has been great to be taken in by another church, but it will be great to have a place to call our home again.”
Peace Lutheran members have been meeting at Bethany Presbyterian in Joplin since the tornado. Despite not having their own church, members continued to serve the community through outreach programs.
“Church is something that should be us outside of ourselves, and we have tried to stick with that since the tornado,” Redpath said. “But having our own home again from where we can reach out into the community is something that we have all looked forward to.”
Sunday’s ceremony will include two original charter members from the 1965 founding of Peace Lutheran Church. Don Wiese and Leo Winchester will be on hand for the groundbreaking.
“Peace Lutheran members had the one home for nearly 50 years, so it is exciting to have them on hand to help with the transition,” Redpath said.
“As a congregation, we’re just excited about the expansion possibilities with the new location. When they broke ground years ago, they wanted that central location for the city. As we have continued to grow, we are focusing on the community as a whole, and I think having the new location will let that happen for us.”
The new church will include a sanctuary, a fellowship hall and extra space to provide for future worship and ministry programs. Representatives of the building contractor, Joplin Construction Design and Management, will be on hand for Sunday’s groundbreaking.
Redpath said the cost of the new building and the land purchase will be near $1 million.