Church rebounds after lightning strike
Members of a Kenosha church gather for Sunday services, except Sunday was a little different. A lightning bolt hit the church's tower, so the service was unusually quiet.
St. James is one of the oldest Catholic churches in Wisconsin but it still relies heavily on modern technology to hold mass. So when a recent storm took away some of those modern luxuries the church took a page from the past and held mass anyway...
Voices of praise, singing so loudly you almost don't realize there's no organ, no sound system and.almost no lights at all.
"It outed all the electrical, some of the panels caught fire, and they went out, miraculously. So none of the church was destroyed even if the electrical was," said Father Sean Grainger.
Some might call it disaster but Father Grainger calls what happened divine intervention saying if a nearly technology free mass is their worst case scenario after a lightning strike, the church is blessed.
"It was much more intimate, not too many lights but I think we all prayed pretty well," said Grainger.
When the church was hit by lightning, bricks went everywhere, some landed in front of the building, other small pieces were found as far as a block away.
"Despite all the debris everywhere no one was hurt, nothing was hit, no siding hit on homes, no windows, no ones cars, despite all the projectile bricks everything was fine," said Grainger.
And in the dark this Sunday morning parishioners had an intimate opportunity to send up their prayers of thanks.
"There's a sense of calmness, a sense of closeness, a sense of that intimate prayer with God," said Grainger.
Lifelong church member Janelle Thwig agrees.
"I do not think it was a quieter service. I thought it was much louder, more uplifting everybody was joining in," she said.
"There was no shuffling of feet, no coughing, no anything else during the mass; it was like everyone wanted to listen intently so they heard everything," said Paul Kern.
Appreciating each mass after this a little more.
"It could have easily gone up in flames; it was an amazing powerful thing that God just had the lightning strike and gave us a little zing to remember why were here," said Thwig.
Church leaders say it will take about six months to fully assess the damage from the storm but they're happy the building is still standing.