Faith prevails as Minot churches improviseMembers of the Little Flower Catholic Church gathered for Sunday mass at an unlikely location the Knights of Columbus. But as a ring dike protects their church building from the flooded Souris River, parishioners were grateful for a place to worship.
By: By Amy Dalrymple, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
MINOT — Members of the Little Flower Catholic Church gathered for Sunday mass at an unlikely location the Knights of Columbus.
But as a ring dike protects their church building from the flooded Souris River, parishioners were grateful for a place to worship.
“It’s awkward, but it’s important for a faith community to stay together,” said the Rev. Fred Harvey.
About 500 people attended the service, with many standing in the back or directed to seats on the club’s dance floor or in the bar.
Members of two other Catholic churches also attended the service on the north hill because travel remains difficult between the two ends of town.
Many other churches held services in temporary locations or combined with other congregations to give people a place to worship.
“You just have to keep your faith,” said Joyce Sand, a 50-year member of Little Flower. “What else have you got?”
The past week was an “emotional roller coaster” for members of Little Flower who fought to defend their building from record flooding, Harvey said.
After it was clear they were not going to be able to save the school, volunteers shifted efforts to passing sandbags and reinforcing a dike around the church. So far the main level of the church is dry and Harvey is confident the levee will hold.
“We have to stay together as a people of God,” Harvey told parishioners. “That’s where our strength comes from.”
Sunday was supposed to be Harvey’s last day in his parish before he is transferred to a Mandan church. But now he is being asked to stay throughout the flood recovery.
With no musical instruments, four women shared a hymnal to lead the congregation in song. They chose familiar hymns including “Amazing Grace” and told people to hum along if they didn’t know all the verses.
Parishioner Dione Bohl said she’d have an empty feeling if she wasn’t able to attend Sunday mass. Her home is submerged up to its roof and she’s been helping with the efforts to save the church. Getting together with her church family gives her hope, she said.
“As much as it’s an awful experience, it’s also been a great joy to be with our parish family this way,” Bohl said.
Down the street, members of three Lutheran congregations worshipped at the Vegas Motel to give people on the north side of town a place to gather.
Pastors from Our Savior Lutheran Church didn’t know if anyone would attend the service, but it drew nearly 75.
“I think it really speaks to the need,” said Bonne Rennich, director of music and congregational ministries. “In times like this, people really turn to their faith and fellow believers to lean on.”
The Rev. Dan Voth said people often wonder where God is during times of crisis.
“He is here. You see him all around in the people who have banded together in this city,” Voth said.
Cheryl Coyle and her daughter, Alyssa, said they were comforted after attending the service.
“It’s like I don’t want to leave,” Coyle said.
Amy Dalrymple is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by
Forum Communications Co.