The Community United Methodist Church in Ashton has a new roof and to say thank you it is holding a free community meal.
The “Loaves and Fishes” meal is on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 5 - 7 p.m.
Much of the money to build the roof came from a trust fund but to cover the rest the community came together for fundraising activities. This truly shows that it takes a community to raise a roof.
“The board of trustees decided we need a new roof and brought it to our church leadership and they decided ‘ok we are going to move forward by the grace of God,’” said Rev. Desi Larson.
The church started the fundraising effort with a music concert by Larson’s daughter who is an opera singer. That was followed by a St. Patrick’s Day dinner and a dessert auction where pies sold for more than $100.
Then Sheri Davidson, the president of the Relief Society from local Ashton ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told Larson they wanted to help with the roof as well.
“She said, ‘It’s so important that we help one another be strong because when you are strong we are strong,’” Larson said. “And you often hear stuff like that but you don’t see it or feel it.”
At the fundraising event last year the Church of Jesus Christ helped organize the musical guests and the horse rides. Many other churches came together to run booths. At that fundraiser they raised $20,000 in two hours.
Larson said between that fundraiser and others, the church was able to get $40,000 for the roof.
The whole effort was very similar to a barn raising. A time when the whole community would come together to raise the walls of a barn.
Jack Baird is on the Board of Trustees for the Methodist church and he said they all saw what a wonderful thing coming together as a community was.
“I think that there is a lot of impudence in the community now to continue what the LDS leadership started last year as a community effort for different good deeds in the future,” Baird said.
Larson pointed out that in the Bible in the book of John Jesus spent three chapters just praying for the people to have unity.
“We are different and we have different faith traditions, but I felt a little pre-glimpse, in a way, of heaven,” Larson said. “Because there was all these different faith traditions coming together to support one another and that is powerful.”
The Ashton church was originally built in 1908 and then burned down in 1956. In 1957 it was then rebuilt. However, it was designed with a popular feature of the time - a flat roof.
The flat roof of the building allowed snow to pile on top and over the years. Rev. Larson says they have had many leakage problems.
“It’s gotten so bad that we had buckets during worship!” Larson said.
Now, with a new roof, the church and congregation are ready for a winter without leaks.
“We now have a pitched roof that is more appropriate for our winters!” Larson said.