The Coal Ridge Church and Museum invites everyone to put on their walking or running shoes for a benefit 5K on Saturday, April 7.
The church is the final standing remnant of Coal Port, one of the six lost Marion County communities drowned in Lake Red Rock. Worshippers from throughout the county, as well as campground guests, are invited every Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day for its 11:15 a.m. services. Todd Rowland serves as pastor of the church and credits the building’s “good bones” for its ability to continue to host the non-denominational praise sessions.
Coal Ridge Church was founded in 1852, but the original structure was lost in a fire. The current building, located at 1034 Highway S-71, went up in 1909. Each worship service hosts approximately 25 people. Special events – ranging from hymn sings to the Harvest Moon Supper to Christmas Eve services – have brought in over 100. Regardless of how many people are in the church, the acoustics can make one feel surrounded by many more lifting their voices for the Lord.
“When you do a hymn sing, 15 people can sound like 50,” Rowland said. “It’s just incredible.”
Though weekly services are limited to the vacation season, the church is open year-round as a museum. One of the highlights inside the building is an old pump organ, which adds greater character to the musical praise offered at each service. All it takes is one visit to the church for it to grab a piece of your heart, Rowland said.
Like everything else, to keep the church and museum going it takes money. Rowland is spearheading the 5K to help the cause.
Through March 21, those who wish to walk or run may register at www.GetMeRegistered.com/CoalRidgeChurch5K. The cost through that day is $20, with the price going up to $25 beginning March 22. Those who register before March 1 will also receive a free T-shirt.
In addition to the 5K, the event will include an optional wheel barrow race. Outside the Coal Ridge Church is a wheel barrow full of coal. To honor this, those who sign up for the 5K will race one-on-one, pushing a wheel barrow full of charcoal briquettes through an obstacle course. The cost to register for the 5K and this race is $25 before March 21 and $30 after. The first 25 who register for the wheel barrow race will receive a free stocking cap. One cannot register for just the wheel barrow race, and registrations close the day of the event.
The 5K will begin at 9 a.m. with the wheel barrow race at 10:30. It will begin at Whitebreast Campground. The route will run through the campground, down to the beach, and will end at the church. Prizes will be awarded for the top male and female in each age group, with overall male and female winners crowned.
Rowland, who has served the church for approximately 18 months. His day job is as a maintenance worker for Pella Regional Health Center, and in his spare time, he is studying at the Moody Bible Institute to become a full-time pastor. He would love to see the Coal Ridge Church to be open full-time as well someday, but is grateful for what he is already able to do.
“It’s been a huge blessing to do it,” Rowland said.
If you are unable to take part in the 5K, cash donations can be made on the website given above or sent to the church. Volunteers for the day of the event will also be appreciated. For more information, contact Rowland at 641-891-4016.