of Creekside Church
and the former Elkhart City COB
p.m., Thursday, June 29, 1995, an arsonist set multiple fires in
the church, causing an estimated damage of $250,000, mainly in the
main floor hallway, although smoke damage was throughout the building.
Structural damage was slight except in the narthex area. Prompt
response by the Elkhart firefighters stationed close by brought
the fire under control by 11:00 p.m. The congregation met with the
Elkhart Valley congregation the following Sunday, July 2 and at
Memorial High School on July 9. Beginning July 16 worship and church
school classes were held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church on
Bristol Street until September when renovation of the building was
complete and the congregation was able to return to the church.
The restoration work was done by Steamatic and private contractors.
Insurance covered the building damage, $175,000, and some of the
contents. Around $3,500 worth of supplies were not covered. Some
of the money given by individuals and other churches was set aside
for upgrading the security system. The arsonist who set the fires
in the church was never apprehended.
Glass Window at west end of church.
Photo: Gary Arnold
which were formed to enable members of the congregation to discern
and provide a vision for the future of the Elkhart City Church of
the Brethren, were held in homes during February and March of 1997
and in January 1998. The 135 surveys filled in by persons attending
the meetings revealed the following: The majority of persons (between
103 and 110) felt they were having a difficult time reaching and
retaining younger members and they did not have as clear a vision
as they needed for the future of this church. Also there were concerns
about safety. Furthermore, responses were not indicative for enthusiastic
outreach in this location. Their involvement with the church had
been especially meaningful in developing a deeper personal faith,
providing some close friendships, and providing inspirational worship
experiences. Some persons felt that regardless of the decision to
stay or move, the church would continue to struggle unless they
had renewed commitment and revitalization of the present membership.
Some were also concerned about how the congregation could undertake
the substantial financial commitment to a new building when it was
difficult to meet the current budget.
Mann began as interim part-time Director of Nurture and Education
on January 7, 1998.
Top of page