Giving new life: Closed church donates key items to local congregation

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

MERIDEAN, Wis. (WEAU) -- One historic church closing means new opportunities for a church just getting started.

Sunday afternoon, the recently shuttered Lutheran church in Meridean gave away key items to Living Water Lutheran Church in Cameron.

“We just didn't have enough people to have the church going.

Sometimes we'd have three people in church on a given Sunday,” said Jane Shager, a lifelong member of Meridean Lutheran Church.

So after 154 years, church bells stopped ringing at Meridean Lutheran in May 2012.

“We came down and helped them close their doors for the closing ceremony last spring, and then since then we've been in contact with them of how we can take the contents of their building and receive that as a legacy of this community of faith,” said Ned Lenhart, the pastor of Living Water Church.

A team of volunteers from Living Water came to the small community in rural Dunn County to load up the holy items.

“We took an altar, pews, a pulpit, a baptismal font. Basic furnishings you need to start a new congregation. As we take this gift we realize there is pain and sadness in this community as they look at this congregation that really has been an intrical part of the community,” Lenhart said.

Shager said she was the first person baptized at the current building when it was constructed in the 1940s.

“They were real gracious to get the items. It's sad of course,” Shager said.

The evangelical Lutheran congregation was Meridean's only church.

And its closure marks the end of an era for the tiny town, as businesses also disappeared years ago.

“There isn't anything going on here anymore,” Shager said.

The future of the little country church is unclear.

“There are sealed bids until April 30th and then after that we'll have to decide what we'll have to do if we don't get any bids,” Shager said.

But Meridean Lutheran will live on in the next chapter of Living Water, as it breaks ground on a new church.

“It will be a multipurpose community center in the community of Cameron sometime in the summer of 2013,” Lenhart said.

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