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'Today was a chance to say thank you': Parishioners host Firefighters who helped save their church

Parishioners at Maple Sheyenne Lutheran Church are happy to be back to normal after an arson fire last June. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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People enjoy a meal after Sunday service at Maple Sheyenne Lutheran Church in Harwood.
Mike McGurran
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A fire last June left the parishioners of Sheyenne Maple Lutheran Church in Harwood in limbo while repairs were made.

The fire left the side of the church damaged, although the firefighters managed to put the fire out before it made its way inside of the building.

"We were outside for services for three weeks afterwards as they came in and cleaned the church and really got it out this main area," said Corey Lange, the pastor of the 137 year old church. "And then this Maple Hall area where we're standing now has been two and a half months that we were outside of this area as they painted and relayed floors and carpeting."

Even though a fire threw a wrench into the normal operations of the church, they're back to normal, and saying thank you.

With the church fully restored, they're back to holding services inside. They hosted Firefighters who were on the scene, and local law enforcement for a community meal after their Sunday service on September 25.

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"It's a day of just being thankful for all that all that's happened," said Lange. "From when June when tragedy struck to today, it's just a day of of joy to to share this day together."

Cass County Sheriff Jesse Jahner attended the meal. He addressed the crowd to give them an update on the ongoing investigation into the cause of the fire, which was deemed arson by law enforcement. He says the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has taken over the investigation.

"They've asked our office for some assistance now, because there's some things that we can do that they can't do, and vice versa, there's some things they can do that we can't do," said Jahner.

For now, Pastor Lange is just grateful to be back to normal.

"Today was a chance to say thank you," he said.

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