JUNCTION CITY — As local community members do their best during uncertain and unresting times, one community hopes to rebuild what was lost in a blaze that destroyed a local place of worship.
The Perry County Tribune reported in February an incident involving a fire that destroyed a church in the Village of Junction City in Perry County. The Junction City Good Shepherd United Methodist Church can still be seen standing on the corner of Mulberry and Walnut streets.
On Feb 18, early reports from fire crews described extensive damage throughout the structure; the church initially opened its doors in 1875. The fire started during the morning hours on that day with firefighters struggling to maneuver in its complex design.
Brent Vallee is a former visitor of the old Junction City church and was heartbroken when he heard the saddening news. Armed with his faith, Vallee wanted to do something more for the followers of Good Shepherd.
“The reason is just community service, but for me personally, my grandma and grandpa went to that church, and I remember going to that church when I was young,” Valle told The Perry County Tribune. “My mom went there several times.”
Vallee noted that the church burning down ate at his heart.
“My heart was burning,” Vallee commented.
Since the sudden fire that eviscerated a place of worship for some, faithful followers had to relocate their church service. Vallee explained the congregation did not have anything left and are holding services inside a community center in town.
After speaking with church leaders and listening to what the congregation needed, followers asked for hymnals as they did not have the funds to purchase them. Vallee added that several other items had been lost in the fire.
“In the meantime, we knew that they didn’t have any sound system or a CD player… we bought the entire set of CDs for the hymnals... now they have music,” Vallee stated.
Vallee gathered up some of his fellow churchgoers to deliver the items to the congregation on Sunday, May 31. After delivering the donated sound system and other items, the first song that was played was Amazing Grace.
“We played that, and everyone was standing up and singing,” Vallee stated. “There wasn’t a person in that room that didn’t have a dry eye.”
Vallee added that the moment was very powerful for him as he hopes the congregation’s structure will be back to its former history. He also explained that he and others will help set up the sound system once a new building is created.
“It’s not going to be big or elaborate, but it is going to be a system they can use,” Vallee commented.
Vallee also stated that funds were donated to help assist Good Shepherd followers during this time. He did not give the total value of funds donated.
When the original structure was still available for service, the space held 17 to 20 attendees who showed up regularly. Former pastor at the church, John Kay, was quoted on Feb. 18 stating, “through God something good will come of the fire.”