By Alex Haglund
St. John’s Lutheran Church, New Minden was hit by a tornado on November 17, 2013, a twister which claimed two lives in the community and toppled the steeple from the church, knocking the bell to the ground.
The bell, refinished and in a new carriage was raised up atop the church at the beginning of this month, and on June 24 and 25, the steeple was put in place. Late in the morning of Thursday, June 25, the last piece, the cross, shining and plated with gold, was placed atop that steeple.
Accompanying the cross up was St. John’s Pastor, Tim Mueller, who donned a safety harness and rode to the top of the steeple in a basket lifted by a crane, leading members of the congregation in song as he did so.
“This is kind of the last big piece, from the exterior anyway.” Mueller said before the ascent.
Mueller said that a member of the congregation had told him how much they had missed the church’s steeple.
“She said, ‘you come from the West and you miss seeing that steeple.’” Mueller said. “It’s kind of a landmark that tells you that you’re home.
In July, new carpeting and benches will be put in inside. In November, around Thanksgiving, the organ will complete the restoration of the church, almost exactly two years after the tornado.
Mueller lead a short prayer service to dedicate the new cross.
“This is the fourth steeple that this house of worship has had,” said Mueller. “By his death, that’s where the cross comes in, Christ makes satisfaction for our sins.”
As Mueller rose, lifted by the crane, he lead the congregation in singing “Lift High The Cross.”