This is a view of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Burlington, after the steeple was toppled from the roof of the church by high winds.

Damage to church building was minor, pastor says

By Ed Nadolski

Editor in Chief

The Rev. Kirk Lahmann, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, displays the cross that was separated from the steeple when it toppled off the roof of the church.

Officials at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Burlington got a humbling lesson in the awesome power of nature at the expense of the church steeple early Feb. 25.

The narrow, 18-foot-long steeple atop the nearly 40-year-old church was toppled from its perch early Monday after being battered for hours by wind gusts that at times exceeded 50 mph.

“I was just thankful there was no one nearby and no one got hurt,” said the Rev. Kirk Lahmann, pastor of the parish at 198 Westridge Avenue.

Lahmann said he was messaged by a neighbor of the church who reported hearing a crash on the church property sometime during the night.

He said it appears the steeple tumbled onto the roof, causing some minor damage to the roof, and then rolled to the ground where he found it Monday morning. A five-foot-high steel cross that topped the steeple was broken off and remained on the roof.

“We were able to get up on the roof right away and pick up the pieces,” Lahmann said.

They were able to patch a small hole in the roof that was caused by the incident.

The belfry, which is just below the steeple and forms the base of the structure, was not damaged.

According to the National Weather Service Sullivan office, wind gusts in the area topped out at 54 mph earlier on Sunday. Wind gusts were recorded in the mid-30 to mid-40 mph range in the hours before and after midnight on the evening of Feb. 24 into the early morning hours of Feb. 25.

To read the entire story see the Feb. 28 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.