Cornerstone Community Church in Kalona needed to find a building for its growing church.

The congregation was meeting at Mid-Prairie Middle School, but there were limitations to that building. They wanted something permanent, a place to call their own.

They turned to prayer, according to Pastor Floyd Yutzy.

“We prayed a lot,” Yutzy said. “We saw God work through us.”

The path led to a merger with the Kalona Christian Fellowship and its church building on 14th Street on the east side of Kalona.

“I didn’t see this coming,” the pastor said. “God is full of surprises.”

Cornerstone had launched a capital campaign last year to raise money to buy a new building.

The church’s capital campaign had raised about $20,000, an impressive sum but not enough to buy the building they were looking at.

It was enough, however, to renovate the Kalona Christian Fellowship building.

“We had raised exactly the right amount,” Yutzy said. “We just didn’t know what it was for.”

The merger of the two congregations has been in the works since the beginning of the year, but it was official June 1.

The Kalona Christian Fellowship essentially gave Cornerstone the church building, which was remodeled in May with the money Cornerstone had collected to buy a building. 

Merging two churches is not usual, according to Yutzy.

“It is more normal for churches to divide rather than unite,” he said.

Yutzy was amazed at the generosity of the Kalona Christian offer.

“Their view of God’s kingdom was much bigger than their group,” he said.

Kalona Christian Fellowship Pastor Larry Rediger was looking to retire. The congregation of 50 to 60 people had no one to replace him. That led to Cornerstone Community Church, a church that has been growing since four couples founded it two years ago.

Sixteen people – eight from each of the churches – met to talk about making the merger work. The big question this group had to answer: “How do you bring two churches together under one name?”

The result is a diverse congregation built around a culture of prayer.

“Anybody from any background is welcome,” Yutzy said.

Yutzy’s background is reflective of the diversity of the new church. He grew up Beachy Amish and was an assistant pastor at Sunnyside Mennonite Church from 2001 to 2012.

Cornerstone cannot afford a full-time pastor. Yutzy works four days a week at Kalona Post and Frame where he is one of the owners. One day of the week he devotes to church business.

At least that is the way it is supposed to work. Yutzy finds his days are comingled between his two passions.

“I flip hats all day every day,” he said.

The new church is growing, especially with young people. Families in the congregation have had eight babies in the past six months.

The church size has doubled since November. The sanctuary has 180 chairs. If everybody shows up there are not enough places for them to sit.

Yutzy is not worried.

“God got us this far, he’ll take us from here,” he said.

(1) comment

Steven S. Couch

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