Heavy Snow Forces Churches to Cancel Services

Post a Comment » Written on February 27th, 2007     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (February 27, 2007) – Winter storms that dumped as much as three inches of ice and more than two feet of snow forced some Evangelical Covenant Churches in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin to cancel services Sunday. Other churches in the Midwest adjusted their schedules.

Churches in Decorah, Mason City, and Pomeroy were among the congregations that closed in Iowa. “We got swamped with nine inches, but the winds, sleet and freezing rain were brutal,” says Craig Pinley, associate pastor of First Covenant Church in Mason City. “We cancelled Saturday afternoon. No one was moving anywhere.”

Several of the churches in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area also closed, including the First Covenant Churches in both cities and Salem Covenant Church.

Bethlehem Evangelical Covenant Church in Minneapolis remained open, however. With an explanation that would make Garrison Keillor proud, Pastor Phil Stenberg explained, “We are an intrepid people.”

Roughly 75 attendees braved the weather to reach the church, which normally has 225 people sitting in the sanctuary. Nineteen choir members attended, which Stenberg attributed to the hardiness of singers. “That’s why singers live longer,” he quipped. “It’s a known fact.”

Arbor Covenant Church in Madison, Wisconsin, also closed, says pastor Jim Stanley-Erickson. A congregation member made the decision because Stanley-Erickson and more than 40 other people from the church were holding their winter retreat at Covenant Point Bible Camp in Iron River, Michigan. Everyone was able to make it home because the highways had been cleared, Stanley-Erickson says.

The closings were the first in the history of some churches and at least decades for others. Arbor Covenant had not cancelled a service in at least 20 years, Stanley-Erickson says.

Some of the churches that didn’t close adjusted their schedules. First Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska, cancelled one of its two services as well as Sunday school.

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