Tornado-damaged Westernville church reopens for holiday services

Reservations for Christmas Eve service at Presbyterian Church all filled


WESTERNVILLE — After receiving its new steeple last month which fell when a tornado touched down in the hamlet back in July, the 204-year-old Westernville Presbyterian Church, 7696 Stokes-Westernville Road, will officially re-open with Christmas Eve services tonight as well as services on Sunday.

Several area churches and foundations donated toward rehabilitation work for the church, which also included some interior damage.

The new steeple was built by Summerville Log Homes on Link Road in Rome.

Will Olney helped spearhead the roughly $750,000 project.

Pastor Donna Schonewetter said reservations, which were capped at about 100 people, have already been filled for the 7:30 p.m. Christmas Eve service Friday.

She said attendance had to be limited due to the on-going coronavirus.

The church will once again open its doors for a service at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 26.

Parishioners are asked to wear masks and to practice social distancing.

“We are over-joyed to be able to go back into our place of worship,” Schonewetter said. “We encourage everyone who comes to wear a mask.”

As for the completed renovations, “It’s so nice to see the steeple gleaming in the sunlight,” the pastor said.

“The lovely copper is brilliant, and I was just admiring it from my kitchen window,” she added.

Those who were unable to make an in-person reservation for the Christmas Eve service may still view the church’s service live online via Zoom.


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