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Burned church looks at options

Pastor Dennis Reedy of Tyrone’s Christ United Methodist Church met with church council members last night to decide which direction to go after a weekend fire heavily damaged the facility.
Prior to the church council meeting, Reedy spent yesterday conducting media interviews and doing a walk through with an insurance inspector at the church while trying to continue regular day-to-day business. When The Daily Herald spoke to him yesterday, Reedy mentioned he had just been working on recording some devotional messages when he took the call.
Christ United Methodist Church was set on fire in the early morning hours on Sunday. The fire was detected by a Tyrone police officers. Fire crews from several departments had the fire under control by 4:30 a.m. Churchgoers were left to hold services in the parking lot at the intersection of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Police arrested a 17-year-old juvenile on Sunday and Police Chief Joe Beachem said last night another suspect (previously identified as a male juvenile) was not in custody yet. He said his department would be concentrating their efforts today to make an additional arrest.
Pastor Reedy said the insurance inspector determined the church had suffered damages which would make it a higher-end expense. He said such insurance claims usually mean damages in excess of $500,000. However, he could not give an official damage estimate this morning. He said another insurance adjuster would be in later this week to conduct another assessment.
Reedy said the church decided to seek the assistance of Epworth Manor by asking officials there if the chapel at the facility could be used for services while repairs are made at the church. The approval from Epworth Manor officials was received this morning and the church will conduct its services there this Sunday. Services will be held there until the church can get back to its own property again.
To that end, the pastor said plans include making a wall between the sanctuary and the educational unit at the building permanent. The move would seal the two structures off from one another. Currently a partition style wall is in place.
Once that was done, Reedy said the educational unit would be repaired and the church could conduct its services and other activities there. The idea would allow the church to get back to its own property more quickly while decisions and actual completion of repair and restoration are made to the more heavily-damaged sanctuary. Reedy said he believed the church’s insurance coverage would allow the church to be repaired and restored.
Reedy said the church offices were being temporarily moved to the First English Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 17 West 13th Street in Tyrone.