Worshippers will soon return to Burlington church

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) — Member of First United Methodist Church in Burlington could return to their rebuilt church this weekend, more than six years after an arson fire destroyed the historic downtown building.

The Hawk Eye newspaper reports (http://bit.ly/18FNGba ) churchgoers toured the church Sunday for the first time since the 2007 fire, which only left the church’s foundation and walls.

Kevin Ravelin, of Burlington, was convicted of arson for setting the fire and is serving a 35-year sentence in federal prison.

Since then, First United Methodist members have worshipped at Grace United Methodist. Although they’re eager to return to their rebuilt church, First United Rev. Mike Orthel says “it was very hard to say goodbye to Grace.”

If workers finish this week, the church plans a 12-hour prayer vigil before the first service Sunday.

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Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com

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