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South Dakota congregation to help nearby fire-damaged church

August 3, 2018

BRISTOL, S.D. (AP) — A church in a rural northeastern South Dakota city plans to raise money for a nearby congregation recovering from a fire.

Bergen Lutheran Church in Bristol will give proceeds from its fourth annual threshing bee on Sunday to Westside Wesleyan Church, which was badly damaged by a fire last month, The Aberdeen American News reported .

The event raises money for community causes. Last year’s festivities raised $7,000.

The Bergen Lutheran congregation voted unanimously to help Westside Wesleyan following the fire, said Karen Johnson, the event’s organizer.

“One of my council members told me when I asked him, he said, ‘It’s God’s work, let’s do it,’” she said. “It says to me that faith has no denomination. They are as much a part of our family as our own congregation members.”

The July 20 fire damaged Westside Wesleyan’s sanctuary, pastor study and main structure. It’s unclear if the church will be remodeled or rebuilt completely, said David Dulitz, a Westside Wesleyan Church board member.

“It’s kind of emotional right now, for me, walking around and the floor is so dirty,” Dulitz said. “I don’t want to track dirt in the church, on the carpet. That’s hard for me. Seeing all these piles of melted stuff. ... This is just not the way we treat our church.”

Westside Wesleyan is holding church services at the Bristol Community Center for the time being.

Sunday’s activities will include potato-picking, the chance to use old-fashioned farm equipment and the opportunity to ride in a covered wagon.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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