Today's Edition About us Local Opinion Obits Sports Things to do Classifieds Newsletters Podcasts Contact us

Missionaries clean up church on Ellis Boulevard

June 12, 2019 at 3:25 a.m. | Updated June 28, 2019 at 3:37 p.m.
Volunteers helped remove remaining debris June 11, 2019, from behind Community Christian Church on Ellis Boulevard. This was the second day various organizations assisted the church with clearing trees and removing forestry from its outdoor sanctuary, which was damaged in the May 22 tornado.

More than 60 members of various organizations cut down trees and cleared debris Tuesday at Community Christian Church on Ellis Bouelvard.

Glen Gessley, the church's board chairman, said it had become apparent the church needed more help after a group cleanup June 1.

Early Tuesday, Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and missionaries with Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were on site.

Jarrod Hendricks, a leader in the local Latter-day Saints congregation, placed the request for more hands and chainsaws on, a website for volunteer projects, bringing in missionaries to help with the project.

One goal was to clear downed trees from an area on the property downhill from the church. An outdoor sanctuary was covered by forestry. A few benches below seemed unharmed, Gessley said.

"I've termed this 'the big push' today," he said. "This is an ecumenical triumph of all the churches coming together to help each other out.

"I feel like I'm standing in God's grace."

Missionaries Sister Clark and Sister Hassan pulled parts of trees uphill. It was faster to pass things up the hill when the group of workers formed a line, they said.

"It's really amazing to see how fast the work can go," Clark said. "I remember when we were here (before) this was covered. It looks like we've taken down a whole forest."

Volunteers coordinate with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are called to projects from all over the world.

By working together regardless of faith, he said, more change is achievable.

"We tend to think so segregated between churches and communities and organizations," Hendricks said. "When we come together in a time of need, and if we do more of this, we build that camaraderie and relationships between the churches and the people then we can make JC stronger - that's the way we have to think. Many hands make light work."

Affordable Towing has pulled 16 trees from the property since the tornado. Co-owner Mike Scott said he saw a request for help on Facebook and decided the staff could donate the work between other calls.

Members of Community Christian Church were grateful for the extra help to preserve their grounds. Inside, a crew worked Tuesday to remove what couldn't be saved from moisture damage and store off-site what could.

Roger Bergman has been a member of the church for more than 20 years. He couldn't begin to quantify the amount of time dedicated to getting the church back together.

The stained-glass windows in the chapel were blown out by the winds of the tornado. The glass has been picked up by Emil-Frei Associates to begin work on repairs and possible replacement.

Community Christian Church's Sunday services currently are being held at 9:30 a.m. at the Hawthorn Community Room, 3600 W. Truman Blvd., Gessley said.


Sponsor Content