Harveyville Congregation Rebuilds After Tornado

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HARVEYVILLE, Kan. (WIBW)- A devastating twister ripped through Harveyville a year and half ago, destroying the local united methodist church.

The church stood there since 1885 and Sunday the congregation held a dedication ceremony for the new church built in its place.

On February 28, 2012, an EF-2 tornado hit Harveyville, destroying Harveyville United Methodist Church.

"It was really surreal to me, because I looked up and you were expecting to see this white building at the top of the hill and there was nothing," says 4th year Pastor of Harveyville United Methodist Church, Dennis Irwin.

"It was completely wiped off, the foundation, the basement, wasn't there yet," says church member of 40 years, Janie Kuntz.

Church members say they were devastated, among them: long-time member Lester Kimball-he lives next door to the church and the twister also destroyed his home.

"I lost everything, except my pants flashlight shoes and all that," says Lester.

Its been more than a year and a half since the tornado ripped through and destroyed the church, and now the congregation says they are happy to dedicate the new church that was built in the same spot.

"What an incredible thing that is, for your church and to have gotten to this place today with such a beautiful facility," says Bishop Scott Jones.

"It's wonderful. Its been a lot of work, positive work. People have worked together. Its really come out well," says Kuntz.

Church members sang a song inside the new church with lyrics, "a day of new beginnings."

A new beginning for Lester who says he is grateful his house is rebuilt and his beloved church is still next door.

"It's wonderful, it's a wonderful feeling," says Lester.

Pastor Dennis Irwin says there were slight modifications to the floor plan in the new church. The new one has wheelchair accessibility unlike the old church.