Friday, September 19, 2014

Church finds temporary home at OU after fire

Special to The Ottawa Herald | 8/11/2014

The Aug. 4 fire that destroyed Ottawa’s historic Bethany Chapel Baptist Church left the congregation without a place to worship while the rebuilding process gets under way. That concern is no more after the church accepted Ottawa University’s offer to bring services temporarily to OU’s Fredrikson Chapel.

“The entire Ottawa community is saddened by the fire that destroyed Bethany Chapel,” Kevin Eichner, OU president, said. “I know the Rev. [Armogen] Walker and his congregation are heartened by the many extensions of support they received. We are pleased that they have chosen to accept our invitation to continue their Sunday morning worship and Sunday School ministries on our campus.”

The Aug. 4 fire that destroyed Ottawa’s historic Bethany Chapel Baptist Church left the congregation without a place to worship while the rebuilding process gets under way. That concern is no more after the church accepted Ottawa University’s offer to bring services temporarily to OU’s Fredrikson Chapel.

“The entire Ottawa community is saddened by the fire that destroyed Bethany Chapel,” Kevin Eichner, OU president, said. “I know the Rev. [Armogen] Walker and his congregation are heartened by the many extensions of support they received. We are pleased that they have chosen to accept our invitation to continue their Sunday morning worship and Sunday School ministries on our campus.”

OU was among several entities, including numerous churches in Ottawa, that offered use of their spaces for the Bethany Chapel congregation.

“We were so blessed by the offers that we received from among our fellow churches, but we didn’t want to put pressure on them or inconvenience them if we could avoid it,” Walker, pastor of the church, said. “The Fredrikson Chapel is a perfect fit for us because there are no Sunday morning services held in the facility. Ottawa University has provided us full access with no restraints. We also have several members who are OU alumni and we’ve had students and recent graduates serve as youth pastors, so we enjoy a good bond.”

The church’s first service at Fredrikson Chapel was Sunday, with future Sunday School services planned for 9:30 a.m. and worship services at 10:45 a.m. at OU, 1001 S. Cedar St.

Walker also is excited about the opportunity to minister to new and returning OU students through the Sunday morning services on campus, he said. Because of previously scheduled events, there will be two Sundays over the next several months that the congregation won’t be able to worship in the Fredrikson Chapel.

“One of the goals of Bethany is to get out into the community,” he said. “These date conflicts will give us the opportunity to worship and fellowship with some other churches in the area. The Fredrikson facilities also allow us to extend an invitation for area churches to join us in worship. As president of the Ottawa Ministerial Alliance, I see this as a wonderful opportunity for our congregations and pastors to come together in a location that can accommodate us all.”

Walker indicated he doesn’t know exactly how long services will be held in the Fredrikson Chapel, but said there is no question that Bethany will rebuild.

Bethany Chapel currently is operating an office from the parsonage, next door to the burned out church, 131 S. Poplar St. The office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be called at (785) 893-8108. For updates and information on Bethany Chapel, visit the church’s website http://www.bethanychapel-bc.org/

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