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Local church holds grand reopening after sustaining damage from Hurricane Michael

The church held its grand reopening ceremony Sunday night. (WJHG/WECP)
The church held its grand reopening ceremony Sunday night. (WJHG/WECP)(WJHG)
Published: Jan. 12, 2020 at 8:29 PM CST
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Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Panama City sustained heavy damage after Hurricane Michael.

However, with the help of volunteers and hundreds of work hours, members came together Sunday to celebrate its grand reopening.

Torger Reppen, the President of the church said, "It's so nice to be back in our own building, our own home. Now we can focus on outreach, we've been focusing on rebuilding, and now we can focus on daily church stuff."

Pastor David Kehl says the church met in a variety of places while repairs were underway, including the Bay District School Board building, but went on to say there is no place like home.

Pastor Kehl said, "It was great to have that facility as a temporary place but you're always hauling things back and forth and it's not your own place and your own identity. So, everyone is super excited and it came out really excellent."

After losing most of the building, the church needed help to get back on its feet and that's where volunteers from all around the country stepped in to help.

Sunday, the members took time to thank them for their efforts.

Pastor Kehl said, "Volunteers then started pouring in to help rebuild. Clean up first and then rebuild, from college students to retired people. A lot of them here were involved with that. So it's really thanking God and how his grace brings people together and it helps you appreciate that fellowship."

For the church and its congregation, Sunday night was a night of fellowship and a homecoming more than a year in the making.

Pastor Richard Warnecke, of Christian Aid and Relief, said, "To be able to come together to encourage each other, to help each other out, and to help our community out. That's always been our goal and that's exactly what we continue to accomplish now."

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