Sterling church collapses after Thursday’s winter storm

Published: Feb. 6, 2021 at 6:22 PM CST
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STERLING, Ill., (KWQC) - 16th Avenue Church of Christ in Sterling collapsed after Thursday’s snow and ice storm. The church had stood tall for over half a century.

“I heard more sirens and I saw more police vehicles pull up and an ambulance. At that point, one of our church members had called to see if I was in the building and that’s when we figured out we had had the collapse,” says Leo Woodman, Minister at Church of Christ.

No one was hurt in the accident, but the church and some of its architectural history were left devastated.

“It’s done some inside damage as well. Ripped the roof off in the corner and the block wall cracked all the way through. You can see daylight from the inside looking out. It’s a mess,” says Woodman. “It’s really sad, didn’t ever expect to see something like that.”

After years of services, worship, and events, the building in Sterling was home to many memories.

“I think it was the deputy fire chief I was talking to earlier, he played around this church building as a child growing up. They used to play football and baseball out here on the yard and climb up on that roof to get the balls back. So it brought back a lot of memories for him too,” Woodman says.

As the church community takes the next few months to rebuild what was lost, Woodman is optimistic.

“Buildings this size today are very hard to repair and very expensive to fix but we are thankful for what we have. It’s all in God’s hands. We just have to be patient and it will work out,” he says.

The church doesn’t have an estimate on damage yet, but expect it will be months before the building is rebuilt and back to normal. The church has been doing services through Facebook since the start of the pandemic and will continue online through the repair efforts.

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