By Stan Friedman
KOYUK, AK (January 8, 2015) — Members of Koyuk Covenant Church are encouraged by the generosity of others who have offered to help restore the congregation’s building after it sustained damage from a fire December 21, said Curtis Ivanoff, field director for The Evangelical Covenant Church of Alaska.
No one was at the church when the fire broke out, Ivanoff said.
The fire apparently began in the pipe of the woodstove. Volunteer firefighters arrived quickly and limited the damage, said Ivanoff, who traveled to the village earlier this week. “The building was not destroyed, but a hole was burned in the floor and the sanctuary sustained extensive smoke damage.”
The fire forced the church—the only one in the village—to cancel Christmas services. The congregation is now meeting at the tribal community hall.
The cost of the damage has yet to be determined, but an estimate on repair costs is expected this week.
The congregation already has begun cleanup work and has removed some of the damaged floor to prepare for repairs, Ivanoff said. The walls and ceiling of the sanctuary need to be cleaned and repainted.
“The church is encouraged by the response of people from Alaska and the rest of the country to contribute to the financial need of purchasing new insulation, plywood, carpet, and paint,” Ivanoff said. “An alumni group from Covenant High, when the need was expressed on their Facebook page, agreed to make a contribution with funds that had been raised at their reunion from this past summer.”