160-Year-old church damaged by Tuesday's storms

ELKHART, Ind. -- Residents who live near St. John's Lutheran Church on CR 32 just west of Goshen, say the 160 year old landmark means a lot to them. It was badly damaged in Tuesday morning's storms.

Residents say the church is a popular backdrop for wedding and graduation pictures. Now, it's missing part of its roof because of 80-mile-per-hour winds that blew through Tuesday morning.

"It just has its own charm that attracts people," said Becky Stichter.


That's what St. Johns Lutheran Church has been to Harrision Township for more than 160 years.

The township just west of goshen uses the church more for a historic backdrop than worship and praise.

"I grew up in this area so this church has been here as long as I can remember, and I know a lot of people including my sister and I and my children we come here and take pictures for 4-H projects," said Stichter.


Stichter isn't the only one who comes to the church for the beautiful backdrop.


"I see a lot of people coming here and taking pictures. They pose by the church, some weddings here, people out at the grave site looking at old tombstones, so it's just a point of interest really," said Stichter.

The local landmark is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Now residents are worried what the damage means for the future of the church.

"I have seen some significant damage from other storms in the past but this is a pretty high on the list really as far as damage I've seen before," said Stichter.

Some are worried that the church's days could be numbered.

"As I was walking towards the church to take a picture something in the roof fell, so if you look at the other side of the roof, it's not very stable. It doesn't look like and I'm afraid that they are going to tear the old church down," said Stichter.

A group named St. John's Lutheran Cemetery Association is listed as the owner of the property in Elkhart County's property database. We asked a man with ties to the church what was next and he said he is confident the situation will work itself out.

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