Claremore Church Members Hold First Service After Fire
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - Members of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Claremore had their first Sunday service in their sanctuary since part of it caught fire.
One church member found something special to the congregation in the rubble and church members describe this Sunday as "being at home."
"Everyone's like family here," said church member Mary Slater.
Pastor Mark Burger said they're used being a little crowded on Sundays.
Because the room used for Bible Study is gone now, this group is taking advantage of some closet space to study.
Everyone's just glad they're able to use the sanctuary at all.
"They know God's grace, they know his love and mercy," Burger said.
A special guest sat in the pews Sunday. Rufus is a "comfort dog" who came in from Edmond.
"Rufus is tired, but Rufus also needs to do his work of comforting people, letting people pet him, and that's what he's for," Burger said.
But he wasn't the only reason to smile.
Something was found among all the rubble inside a metal cabinet- the parish register book full of church history.
"Confirmations, baptisms, marriages, when people became new members of our church," said church member Kathy Iwanaga.
Iwanaga found the book in great condition and calls it a "blessing."
"Their hearts are broken to see the old church burned in fire, but it's been a blessing from God. God works in mysterious ways," Iwanaga said.
And this is one of them.
"The Lord protects even something like that. He doesn't just deal with the big picture, he deals with the small too," Burger said.
While that may be considered a small blessing, they're hopeful for a big one sometime soon - getting the church rebuilt.
The church is accepting donations to help rebuild. Donations to the 'Redeemer Lutheran building Fund' may be made at any BancFirst bank location.