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Keystone United Methodist church reflects on next steps after fire

Keystone United Methodist Church
Posted at 9:14 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 22:14:57-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Firefighters say the cause behind the Keystone United Methodist church fire was linked to a construction crew working on the roof.

The church has been in south Kansas City for 113 years before smoke was seen billowing out of it on Monday.

Firefighters kept the fire contained to the roof above the church’s second-story gym, but massive water and smoke damage were seen throughout the church.

“These people have been a part of Waldo since 1908 here on this corner,” Ben Bainbridge, the lead pastor said.

Generations of faith have kept the community together, and on Monday, the support continued with cleanup efforts.

“One of their fears is the ceiling might collapse because of all of the water so they’re trying to button things up and dry it out,” Bainbridge said.

Bainbridge has been the lead pastor for three months.

He came from Joplin, Missouri, where 10 years ago, a tornado devastated the city including his previous church.

“What I see here already within a matter of hours, is what I saw there: is that people rally around something that is traumatic and they use it as a way to use their faith out in the community," Bainbridge said.

Now his community must believe in what’s next.

“We are Sunday people, and we are worship people so we’re going to worship,” he said. “Right now it looks like we plan to worship outside in the front yard. Beyond Sunday I don’t know yet.”

But he does know after the fire and loss, the thing that was restored was in humanity.

“It only strengthens my faith in other people,” he said.

An elementary school also calls a part of the church home too. All students were evacuated and relocated for the week.