Fire destroys Finland’s only church

Published 9:16 am Monday, July 8, 2013

FINLAND — The only church in Finland in northeastern Minnesota has been destroyed by fire.

Fire Chief Pete Walsh said a lightning strike appears to have started the blaze at about 9 p.m. Saturday at Zion Lutheran Church. He said firefighters found the kitchen area on fire when they arrived and it quickly spread through the upper levels.

The building dates to 1957 and was the only traditional house of worship in Finland. It has about 75 active members.

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Rev. Tom Murray said the church was a community gathering place in the small town as well as a place of worship. He said he presumes they will rebuild on the same site.

Church members still gathered Sunday to worship at the Clair Nelson Community Center.