The little white country church stood amid the farms and fields for 99 years, and many in the congregation spent their whole lives worshiping there. So on Saturday night, Jan. 12, when a gas explosion and fire destroyed St. John’s, Colfax, Wis., many felt they lost a piece of their own history and the community lost a landmark.

Thankfully, nobody was in the building at the time of the explosion. Six area fire departments helped to battle the blaze well into Sunday morning. According to local news reports, nothing appears to be suspicious, but the fire is still under investigation at the time of this writing.

Rev. John Toppe, pastor at St. John’s, says many in the congregation are shocked, but not in despair. “It’s tragic, but we will go on, because we know God’s promises where he says he will make all things work for our good,” says Toppe.

The church building was insured, so the congregation will be able to rebuild. St. John’s members will be able to worship at St. Paul’s, Ridgeland, Wis., which is about 20 miles away and also served by Toppe, until they find a place to worship in the Colfax area. Christian Aid and Relief has contacted the congregation to offer assistance should it be needed.

More information is available at