Lansing church looks to get back to basics

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Minnesota's second oldest active church will look the part once its congregation finishes restoring the building to near its original form.

United Methodist Church in Lansing, which was originally built in 1866, is almost complete, with just a few finishing touches, like the solid oak doors and an arch above the altar.

"What we're trying to convey is the longevity of the church," lay leader Harold Boverhuis said.

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The project has been ongoing for more than a year and includes archways at the door, a hand-carved walnut cross, restored items such as closets and a stenciled border and a raised ceiling.

"We gutted the inside and put it back to the original," said Scharlene Crousore, the church's financial secretary.

The building was previously remodeled in the 1950s. That is when the ceiling was lowered and the space more confined to help save heat and energy. In the 1970s, the congregation added a connection between the sanctuary and the dining hall.

Church members said it was time for another change.

"It needed doing because the old bell-tower had leaked and the ceiling tiles were wet and stained," Crousore said. "Something had to be done.

"It was getting pretty dated," said Pastor Dennis Temke. "It wasn't as bright and inviting as we had envisioned it should be."

Some parts of the restoration are not period, like a wheelchair ramp and carpeting throughout the chapel. These, and other changes, arose throughout the building process.

"We knew we had to put in the handicap ramp," Crousore said. "Then someone said, 'Hey, let's put in some arches in here."

Boverhuis said once the project is done, they will have a dedication ceremony. However, the big party for the church will come next year, when it celebrates its 150 anniversary. United Methodist was established in 1854, 12 years before building went up.

Boverhuis said the project is a testimony to the members of the church, who donated their time, ideas and money to the project.

"The congregation has donated and contributed each to their own might," he said.

Matt Merritt can be reached at 434-2214 or by email at