Church service offers haven during fire

Published 9:09 am Friday, February 5, 2016

By Nancy Madsen

The Mankato Free Press

MADELIA — While the rubble of downtown businesses was still smoldering, several churches gathered for an ecumenical prayer service.

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Pastor Debbie King Quale of Madelia United Methodist Church, just a block away from the fire, said when she got a call about the fire, she set out for the church’s bell tower.

“We needed a place for people to get away from the devastation,” she said.

Pastor Salim Kaderbhai offered Faith Lutheran Church, a few blocks south, as the site for a prayer service.

About 30 people sang hymns like “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” prayed and listened to Bible verses, including words of comfort from Isaiah 61, which says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me … to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

Husband and wife Philip and Rosemary Murphy attended the service.

“It’s what this community does,” said Rosemary Murphy. “We come together to help each other.”

She said she felt shock for the loss and gratefulness it wasn’t worse.

“A lot of people younger than us have worked so hard to make their businesses succeed,” she said. “I hope they have the heart to rebuild.”