Historic church undergoing 2 million dollar facelift

DES MOINES - It's one of the highest points of land in Des Moines, and located at one of the busiest streets. The Kathedral sits just off MLK and I-235 and it's been around since 1901.

A little bit of history on the building; it started out as Grace Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1917 the church was struck by lightning causing a big fire and a lot of damage. In 1932 Open Bible took over the building and eventually outgrew the space. In 1968 Kingsway Church moved in until they too, outgrew the space and left in 2003.  

The building sat empty for six years until it was purchased, and even then, this church has looked like it's closed. In 2009 KLM International decided they would take over the building and start on a major overhaul.

"At 6:30 in the morning I woke up and I heard, just as if somebody were in my room, 'Check on Kingsway Kathedral'. And sometimes when the Holy Ghost speaks to you, you know more than what he says. And so I said, 'Oh no, I don't want to be there, that's in the middle of Des Moines and I heard that place is condemned," said Pastor Kenney Linhart.

So, June 2009, Pastor Kenney closed on the building.

"There was rubble everywhere when we got here. Cracking plaster, peeling paint, all sorts of debris," said Pastor Josh Loomis.

When services first started, they had what they called "cleaning services."

"We'd have a broom and a mop and we'd be teaching over at this side of the sanctuary and plaster would fall and so everybody would move to this side of the sanctuary and then plaster would fall and we'd move to the other side of the sanctuary," said Pastor Kenney.

Currently they are 2.2 million dollars into the restoration and that's all been thanks to donations.

"We have had people give donations of 35 dollars, we've had people give donations of several thousand dollars. We've hired people to do construction and they've given us 50 percent back as a donation to the church."

Seeing this building go from holes in the ceiling and mushrooms growing on the floor to what it is today, Pastor Kenney said it's humbling.

"Sometimes it brings a tear ot my eye because it's finally coming to pass. We though we'd be here two and a half, three years in the restoration process and begin growing the church. It's been the longest seven years that we have really been through, but we've had some really good people come along side us and we meet every Sunday."

They are hoping to be finished with the restoration by the end of the year and you'll be able to tell when that happens.

"When that [cross] goes up, you know that we have got everything done on the inside."

The Kathedral has launched a campaign to help get donations for the last 600-thousand they believe is needed to finish the project.

They also are wanting everyone to share their stories of their memories of the building on their website.

Click here to find more history and how to donate to the restoration project.


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