Benefit Concert Raises Money For Church Destroyed By Fire

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Wichita church came to the aid Tuesday of complete strangers from more than 80 miles away.

The Moline Christian Church, built in the 1880s, was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning in June. The congregation's rebuilding efforts are under way, but many members took a break to take a trip to Wichita to be among the more than 200 people attending a benefit concert.

The concert raised more than $2,200 to help the Moline congregation with recovery expenses.

"Glenn Park (Christian Church) called us up and said, 'Hey we want to do something for you,'" said Moline Christian Church Pastor Stan Rumbaugh. "So I said, 'Hallelujah!'"

Rumbaugh and several members of his Moline Christian Church made the more than hour-and-a-half drive to attend a concert organized to help them out after fire destroyed their 170-year-old church June 15.

"We thought, 'Well, we deserve to come up here and at least present ourselves so they know we do appreciate it,'" Rumbaugh said. "We've appreciated a lot of things that's been coming. It's unbelievable the things that's come our way."

Rumbaugh was overcome with emotion as he recounted the generosity extended to his congregation from many places.

"We've had people all over," he said. "We've had different churches from different denominations that's sent in to help for the rebuilding of the church."

Glenn Park Christian Church's Worship Arts minister, Jeremy Albert, organized the benefit concert after a church member told him about the Moline fire.

"When I saw the pictures, there was something that welled up in me that said, 'We've got to do something. We've got to help out,'" Albert said. "God tells us in Matthew 22 that we're to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and also to love our neighbor as ourselves and when you see neighbors in need, you've got to help out."

Albert called artists who were part of a successful benefit six months ago to help Wichita's Mid-Continent Baptist Church, which was destroyed by arson.

One of those artists was Vernon Smith, along with his quartet, Four the Cross.

"It just touched my heart; touched our group's heart," Smith said. "And it was such a blessing to those who needed that. Whenever we hear the opportunity to do something like that, we just jump at it."

Pastor Rumbaugh says, while the fire destroyed the church building, it came nowhere close to destroying the congregation.

"We've had just about everybody there every Sunday," he said.

Rumbaugh says, though his congregation has not yet decided how to utilize the donations, that money will be put to good use when the time comes for the church to furnish its new home.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jeremy Albert of Glenn Park Christian Church is used to sending a message through song. But it's a message he recently received through the internet that really caught his attention.

"It basically said that Moline Christian Church in Moline, Kan. had their building, that was built in the 1820's, struck by lightning on June 15th," Albert said.

That email, from one of his parishoners, went on to say the lightning strike had caused a fire which decimated the church.

"I went out and I researched it and I saw some pictures online and I thought, 'Boy, what can we do?'" Albert said.

A few months ago he worked with other local musicians to organize a beneft concert for a Wichita church destroyed by arson.

Despite not knowing anyone in Moline, he got back on the phone with the musicians.

"And I said, 'What do you think of doing a concert like we did for Mid-Continent (church) for Moline?' And they said, 'Yea, we'd love to be a part of that.'"

He received the same response from at least five groups who will perform Tuesday at his church in "Help for Moline: A Benefit Concert."

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. The church is at 2757 South Glenn in Wichita.

There is no charge to attend. But they will take a peace offering for those who care to donate. All the money will go to Moline Christian Church.

Also, the musicians who will perform will sell merchandise. Twenty percent of the merchandise sales will be donated to Moline Christian Church.

"Honestly, I would just love to see this place packed full of people wanting to come and help, and worship God, wanting to come honor God with whatever they can do," Glenn Park Christian Church Worship Team drummer Erin Henderson said.

They'll have a head start on packing the pews.

"They are planning on bringing up four or five car-loads from Moline," Albert said.

Albert doesn't know exactly what to expect in terms of overall attendance and donations Tuesday night but he says he hopes, at the very least, the music will deliver a message of hope.

"My prayer is simply to say (Wednesday) here's a check, this is what happened last night and we are really excited to give this to you and we hope it will help you in your efforts to rebuild," Albert said.

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