By Chad Koenen


Rising from an otherwise vacant lot in-between Deer Creek and Wadena, the new Joyful Spirit Church is beginning to take shape. 

The possibilities are endless and the plans are still being finalized about what the new church could look like for another generation. 

Perhaps it’s a bit symbolic that just the foundation of the new Joyful Spirit Church in-between Deer Creek and Wadena was completed this year. The foundation, after all, is one of the parts that holds up their faith, as well as the new Methodist church.

This fall the new basement and concrete were laid under a portion of the new church. Construction was put on hold, for now, as the church members attempt to continue to raise enough money to build a new church for the parish.

“We have to be sure we have enough funds to cover it before we can really get started,” said Joyful Spirit church member Kathy Techam. “We were blessed to be able to do what we have done.”

Earlier in May, several church members ceremoniously broke ground by planting trees at the location of the new church. In a sign that can only be described as the year 2020, the church members planted the trees in a snowstorm in May.

“We were given trees so the men of the church went and put them in the ground,” said Techam.

So far the church parish has installed the electricity, well, basement and constructed a cross along Highway 29 to signify the new church building. The group will be spending the winter unveiling its capital campaign and finalizing the sale of the Wadena church building. The Deer Creek church building was sold quite some time ago. And of course, pray that their dream of constructing a new church comes to fruition.

“And now it is a lot of prayer and raising money,” said Techam.

The hope is to raise enough money this winter and spring to continue construction next summer. Church members are also finalizing some of the plans for the main level of the church, which has brought a level of excitement to what the new church could all bring to its members. 

“We are going into this project (with the thought) as we have the funds we will keep continuing,” said Pastor Kevin Gregory. “We are at a point now where we have spent what we have, but we are hoping to do things as we have them.”

Church members got a brief glimpse of what life at their new location could look like as they hosted drive-in style church services at the new location throughout the summer. Those services have since stopped and have resumed virtually and online. 

Those few months at the new location did a lot to provide an exciting look of what being one church in a neutral location can bring the new church parish. 

“I think we are in a really, really good place and a really exciting place to start this project and think and envision for what life is going to look like for Joyful Spirit Church,” said Gregory. “I think there is a lot of excitement about what God is doing amongst Joyful Spirit now that they have begun the process of being one church.”

The concept of building a new church has been in the works for a number of years. When the Deer Creek and Wadena United Methodist Churches combined to form the Joyful Spirit parish, an agreement was made to seek a neutral site to build a new church. The goal was to sell the two church buildings and use the proceeds to get a jump-start on the construction process. The rest of the money would be raised through various donations and contributions. 

“We knew we were going to have to do something, because neither church was big enough to be there on their own. It just wasn’t going to happen,” said Techam. “That was part of the agreement was that we would find a neutral site so we weren’t Deer Creek and we weren’t Wadena, we were Joyful Spirit.”

Anyone who would like to make a contribution, or donation to the Joyful Spirit Church building fund, can contact a church member or mail in a donation to PO Box 446 in Wadena. Once the necessarily funds have been raised construction of the church located along Highway 29 in-between Deer Creek and Wadena will continue.