Claremore Daily Progress

November 26, 2013

Rebuilding Plans

Christ Presbyterian’s Schwenk discusses future direction after fire destroys church

Mark Friedel
Staff Writer


Five months following the devastating fire that destroyed Christ Presbyterian Church of Claremore, Senior Minister David Schwenk said the church has not decided if it will rebuild in the same location or look at purchasing a church in a different location. 
The congregation is currently worshipping at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Schwenk said he has looked at some buildings for purchase; however, he is still working through the process.
“Seventh-Day has been really good to us and since they worship on Saturdays, it works out well for our Sunday service,” said Schwenk. 
He said the transitioning of locations after the fire took some adjusting to; but overall, the church’s attendance has not been affected.
“We’re a small church, but we’re also committed. Big churches have their difficulties with people moving in and out, but we’re committed to each other and the church of Jesus Christ,” said Schwenk. “Scripture teaches us that God is looking after us. Am I thrilled that the church burned down? Absolutely not, but that’s how life is sometimes.”
The Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) has asked if the church needs funds for rebuilding or to purchase a new building. Schwenk said he has not accepted any funds from PCA, but he would see what the church needed and would go from there.
“We have not launched any fundraisers at the moment, but it’s not out of the question.”
Schwenk has been with the Christ Presbyterian Church of Claremore since the church first moved into the former Methodist building at 310 Weenonah Avenue more than 20 years ago.
The roof of the 100-year-old building underwent renovation several months before the fire occurred and additional construction was underway for the sanctuary, said Schwenk.
The heavy fire began in the second story of the church around 10 p.m. July 21. The entire building was nearly engulfed by the time firefighters extinguished the flames.
Days later, Fire Marshall Jason Crandall ruled the fire undetermined. 
Schwenk said to this day, he has no idea how the fire started.