Save the steeple

Luther United Methodist Church seeks community support for steeple replacement

LUTHER—The steeple of the Luther United Methodist Church has been a fixture in the charming village of Luther since 1883, towering above the store fronts, establishments and houses. Known then as the Luther Methodist Episcopal Church, the land was purchased by church trustees from William and Sarah Luther, for whom the town is named.

In 2015, the church congregation raised the money to repair the roofing on the church. It was during this project that the steeple was discovered to need attention.

Much of the wood supporting the bell tower was rotted. An assessment revealed the steeple was leaning away from the building and had to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. Furthermore, the steeple was leaning close toward the power line, posing even more danger.  The estimated costs were $44,000. 

Since the discovery of the damage, members of the church have taken a loan and hosted many fundraisers to repair the steeple and to keep up with the loan and interest payments.

The project has been quite an undertaking for the congregation, which has only 20 members who are mostly older, according to Dan LaRose, who attends the church, but the community has been more than willing to help take the project on and preserve the history.

Last May, church  meals hosted a spaghetti supper and silent auction, and they activated a go-fund-me account online. The proceeds from the supper and silent auction brought in almost $10,000 and the go-fund-me initiative supplied an extra $1,300, totaling $21,300 toward paying off the steeple repairs.

“The glory in what we’ve seen is how the community has come together to help us,” said Janet LaRose, church member. “The Luther Area Public Library, the Luther Museum, North Bar, Edgetts Church, were a few among the many places to help us with fundraisers. During Memorial Day weekend, we had a huge yard sale. During our ice cream social over the summer, we were delighted when a person from a Baldwin church handed us a check for $100. One fundraiser even sold tickets for people to receive videos.”

LaRose said there are many fundraising events still being planned. On Dec. 15, boxes of Christmas cookies will be sold at the Lake Osceola State Bank in Luther. People can contact Janet at 707-5558 to order Christmas cookies ahead of time. 

Another plan is to have a garden and art tour so people can buy tickets to view gardens and see artists at work. 

“We are in the beginning stages of planning a pig roast fundraiser,” added LaRose. 

“The steeple project shouldn’t take long once it gets started,” said LaRose, “But the church needs monetary support to keep paying off the loan. Anyone who has suggestions for a fundraiser, we will be happy to hear them.”