Home Church community The Windber Church of the Nazarene will gather for the first service since the fire

The Windber Church of the Nazarene will gather for the first service since the fire


Windber Church of the Congregation of the Nazarene plans to officially install its new pastor this weekend and pray together in person for the first time since its church building was badly damaged by a lightning strike and fire .

Mike Long, who began his duties as lay pastor of the Nazarene congregation on July 1, is to be installed as senior pastor at 1 p.m. Sunday by the Rev. Daniel Eddings, superintendent of the Pittsburgh District Church of the Nazarene.

Scalp Level Covenant Brethren Church, 250 Hoffman Ave., offered to host the service, Long said.

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Church and Building Update

In the weeks following the August 21 fire, Long posted Sunday video sermons on the church’s Facebook page and audio messages on Spotify, as well as contacting his congregation through phone calls and visits. when he can. He lives in Munster, Cambria County and works full time as a corrections officer.

“The story God has for us to continue is very simple: We are the church, we are not a building,” Long said in an Aug. 28 video message posted on the church’s Facebook page.

“I believe in a living God who perfects the imperfect… who raises the tiny little shoot out of the scorched ground, to prove that life and love will always prevail.”

What happened:Windber Church damaged by early morning fire

Long said ‘the fire is only a tiny part of the story’ as he praised the Windber Fire Department and other first responders for keeping the community safe during a situation dangerous.

He also noted how the congregation quickly received an overwhelming outpouring of concern and support from other churches, the Windber community and beyond.

“What’s amazing is everything that’s happened since until now,” he said. “This is the story I believe God wants us to tell.

“Neighbors and communities…I can’t list them all because they keep coming – they are the story of this event. The outpouring of support, love and prayers…every community around us has reached out to offer whatever they can.

Mike Long, senior pastor of the Windber Church of the Nazarene, writes a note from the pulpit while surveying the damage to the church's sanctuary on the afternoon of August 21.

Meanwhile, the gaping hole in the roof at the rear of the shrine remains uncovered because the damaged exterior wall is too unstable to allow anyone nearby to place tarps, Long said.

A claims adjuster examined the building and church management was told the claims process would take some time.

“He told us it was going to be a very long process (and he) asked us to be patient,” Long said.

“The word of God is almost all about patience, (so) we focus on patience and let the Lord guide us through this process.”

Sunday services at the presbytery

Work is also underway at the church rectory, located directly behind the church on Ninth Street, to prepare it to hold in-person worship services. Long said a water main burst in the house last winter, damaging the floor that needed to be replaced.

“This insurance claim was handled quickly, but we were in no rush (to make the repairs),” he said. “Now we are.”

Long said the congregation hopes to hold church services in the parsonage in about two weeks – but they also want to consider offers of hospitality from other churches.

“We look forward to seeing and meeting other churches that have reached out to us,” he said.

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Anyone wishing to send a note of encouragement to the congregation can mail it to Windber Church of the Nazarene, 501 Ninth Street, Windber, PA 15963.

“I’m going to read it to everyone,” Long said.

“God makes every second of every day new – he makes everything new. We cling to God’s ponytails and we’ll see where God leads us through it all.