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Nazareth Lutheran 'raising the roof'

Nazareth Lutheran Church officials are optimistic they will raise enough money to replace the roof on the church building through a campaign called “Raising the Roof.”

4/04/17 (Tue)

On the steps of the church...
From left; Duane Thelan, Holly Kohler, Michael and Amy Harris, the Rev. Michon Weingartner and Olivia Harris, talk about the “Raise the Roof” project at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Kenmare, a fundraiser that will replace the roof on the 68-year-old church.    ​

By Marvin Baker

Nazareth Lutheran Church officials are optimistic they will raise enough money to replace the roof on the church building through a campaign called “Raising the Roof.”

In fact, Duane Thelan, who is on the church council and fund raising committee, said it’s going to happen, even though the church is $50,000 short of its $105,000 mission.

“We’re going to reshingle and put on a sub layer,” Thelan said. “We’re going ahead with the project. We have a roof that leaks and some shingles are coming off and water is leaking in.”

He added the committee is at a point that the entire roof needs to be replaced because it’s been patched too many times, high winds have blown shingles off the roof and there are leaks around the steeple.

The group, that includes Thelan, Amy Harris, Holly Kohler, the Rev. Michon Weingartner and others, is optimistic because they say the community has been really generous thus far and there is no reason that won’t continue.

According to Kohler, raising $105,000 is a lot for anyone, but can be especially overwhelming for a small community church.

However, a $30,000 gift from the Memorial and Endowment Committee, a $25,000 withdrawal from savings takes a major chunk out of the debt.

A deadline hasn’t been set to raise the remaining funds, however, Thelan said they will continue until the roof is paid in full.

One way to get closer to the goal is happening Sunday when the church will host an event similar to a fair in which people may take part in a variety of ways.

Sponsored by Thrivent Financial, the day will include a freewill breakfast/brunch catered by Gathering Grounds, it will include a silent auction with items donated from area businesses and baskets are being made that may be purchased for adults and/or children.

Committee members are also in the middle of a candle fund raiser in which recipients may receive one of eight scented, faith-based candles with Bible scripture on them.

“The Lutheran Youth Organization will have a supervised craft room for little kids,” Kohler said. “They will be making something, but it’s a surprise for now.”

Harris wanted to stress that people don’t have to be members of Nazareth Lutheran to attend Sunday’s gala.

“We’re hoping for a great turnout,” she said. “It’s a team effort with the church family and the community. That’s what’s nice about a small community. People are willing to help out.”

Kohler agreed, saying when the fund raising got started in earnest less than two weeks ago, numerous people approached her to ask what they can do.

“When funds come in, donors will tell us they want it to go to the roof campaign,” Kohler said. “It’s been a great response.”

It’s Weingartner’s belief that God’s help will bring everyone together in order to meet the fund raising goal.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for all generations coming together for this need,” she said. “That’s the beautiful thing about a small community.  We have to provide a deep thank you to those who have supported this endeavor so far. It’s a faith walk and the community will come together.”

Harris added that without people living in such a generous community like Kenmare, a goal of this magnitude wouldn’t be possible.

Kohler said it’s a beautiful building and is a beautiful place to worship, and although the committee briefly discussed building a new church, they quickly realized that wasn’t an option because of the beauty and history of Nazareth Lutheran.

The main church was built in 1949, the education wing on the north side of the church was added in the early 1960s and the adjacent parsonage was built in the ‘70s.

“We talked about starting over,” Harris said. “But that’s not an option. We don’t want to lose this church.”

Gronos Construction of Minot has been hired as the general contractor.

Weingartner said the committee checked around to see some of its other projects and others in Kenmare have said the company will do a professional job.

The theme for Sunday’s event is “Come help us to ‘Raise the Roof’ so we can continue to gather and worship for generations to come.”

“It’s important that we want this church to be available for generations to come and so we’re raising these funds,” Harris said. “I’m surprised and overjoyed with people based on their generosity.”

There are numerous ways to become a donor, according to Kohler. She said people can just drop by the church office and she’ll accept funds. There’s a secure drop box just outside the church, checks can be mailed to Nazareth Lutheran Church Raise the Roof Committee, PO Box 205, Kenmare, ND 58746, or people may contact Weingartner at (701) 833-2228.

For additional details on Sunday’s fund raiser, please contact Julie Harris at (701) 339-7993 or by email at (

The gala is set for Sunday, April 9, from 10-11:30 a.m. at Nazareth located at 401 Central Ave. in Kenmare.

“As a council, it was our decision to go ahead with this project,” Thelan said. “In the end, we have to get it fixed.” ...  Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!