Beaver Valley Lutheran Church damaged by severe weather

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 12:22 AM CDT
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VALLEY SPRINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The early Monday morning hours were dominated by tornado sirens, rain thrashing against windows, and wind rattling every nearby structure. From a safe place, Beaver Valley Lutheran Pastor Greg Johnson caught word of a possible tornado moving east of Brandon which would put his church right in the line of danger. He was able to check cameras around the church remotely to get a rough idea of what was going on at night, but it did not tell the whole story.

“I got on and checked all our cameras and didn’t see anything in particular until we actually watched the footage from within the building,” he said. “You could see things swirled up into a ball in the middle of the hallway and I thought that can’t be wind under the door. That has to be an opening of some size that created that swirl.”

Unfortunately, his intuition was right on the money.

Beaver Valley Lutheran was damaged by severe weather
Beaver Valley Lutheran was damaged by severe weather(Dakota News Now)

The church which has stood for well over a century experienced some undesirable change. It was determined that the roof over part of the building was torn right off. An area that normally covers visitors was wide open to the elements. The adjacent Fellowship Hall also suffered damage, but instead of an absent roof, the roof collapsed.

The sight was tough for some to see. Volunteers, church staff, and members gathered Monday afternoon in prayer as they prepare to demolish the condemned areas and prepare to move on. For Ann Beesley, a frequent churchgoer, it was particularly difficult to see the building her grandfather helped lay foundation for torn up. She says faith is strong at Beaver Valley, and it is simply time to roll up the sleeves.

“We certainly shed some tears there today, but no one was hurt,” she said.

Remarkably, the chapel itself received very minimal damage which means service can continue there and at the Outdoor Pavilion Worship Area behind the church. They are the few blessings the congregation are appreciative of following a tumultuous Memorial Day.

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