Fire Damages Church, Not Spirit of Congregation

PERRY TOWNSHIP – A church in Snyder County burned Sunday morning.

Investigators believe a faulty furnace led to the fire that heavily damaged the sanctuary and everything inside.

Inside the Arbogast Lutheran Church near Freeburg, flames left their mark. The sanctuary floor is all but gone, and the pews are left either charred or damaged by smoke and water.

Nate Yerg lives nearby and could only watch Sunday as fire ripped through the church he and his family attend.

“We just stood back and watched. It’s a helpless feeling,” said Yerg.

Every Sunday at the Arbogast Lutheran Church, Sunday School starts around 9:30 a.m. and the church service follows at 10:15. This Sunday, a fire put a stop to all that. Some members were alerted before they arrived and others found out when they got there.

“There was a few who didn’t get the word, came in across the hill and realized there was something bad happening,” said Yerg.

The little country church on the hill that has been around 150 years was left in rough shape.

Brent Snyder goes to another Lutheran church in Snyder County and came to lend his support to the roughly 50 or so members at Arbogast Lutheran.

“Just talk to some people, you’re in our prayers, and anything we can do, you’re welcome to call upon us,” said Snyder.

For now, Nate Yerg, his family and church family plan to worship with another Lutheran church in the area.

That is, until the church building is rebuilt.

“The church is the people. It’s not just the building. We’ll rebuild, get everything back together and we’ll continue.”

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