The Rev. Benjamin Ball leads a Divine Service of Rededication at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel, Ill., on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. It was the first time the congregation worshiped in the sanctuary since a fire damaged the building in November 2013.
“Returning to the House of the Lord after being away for 10 months was one of the greatest days of my life, mostly because I was thinking how much joy it was bringing to the people of God,” Ball said. “They were back in the place they were baptized, where they heard the funeral sermons of the blessed dead, where week after week they hear the gospel and receive the body and blood of Christ. The children of God were back in their Father’s House which really is the gate of heaven, so there was all joy and thanksgiving.”
A grant from LCMS Disaster Response was given to the church to aid in the rebuilding. Photographs by Erik M. Lunsford, staff photojournalist in LCMS Communications.View Photos