Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project
11 2nd Street NW, Mason City
Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Seventeen families came together in 2003 to create a community-based, non-denominational church, Praise Community Churh. The new church held services on Sunday, June 29, 2003 at the Youth For Christ Building (The Union) on South Federal Avenue in Mason City with approximately 100 people in attendance. Within a few weeks, Jeff Dahlin filled the role of Senior Pastor.
In 2005 the congregation cast an unanimous vote to purchase a property located at 12th Street NE in Mason city. The plan was to construct a church building on the property, however due to changes in the national economy by the end of 2007, these plans were put on hold.
In 2010 the congregation purchased the former Elks Lodge in downtown Mason City. When renovations were completed, first services were held on November 13, 2011 with 383 people in attendance.
MASON CITY — It’s the end of an era for the Mason City Elks Lodge No. 375. It will close its doors on March 31.
“It’s a shame it’s going to close,” said Doug Rodemeyer, exalted ruler of the Mason City Elks Lodge. “It’s unfortunate for the community.”
Rodemeyer said the group’s national Grand Lodge recommended the closure mostly because of financial problems stemming from low membership and high utility costs.
When the lodge opened in December 1958 it had 1,200 members. Today it has around 200 and Rodemeyer said it’s been hard attracting members.
With fewer members it’s more difficult to pay the high overhead associated with the building. Rodemeyer said utilities average $2,000 a month.
Linda Hanson, lodge chaplain, said they’ve been trying to offset the costs by volunteering to work instead of having paid employees, but it hasn’t been enough.
The lodge took another financial blow last week when former Exalted Ruler Bud Berding and his wife, Prudy, filed a four-count lawsuit against the lodge.
All four suits add up to $10,352, plus liquidated damages, attorney fees, interest and court costs, and ask that $1,352 worth of equipment be returned.
Rodemeyer said the building is owned by the Grand Lodge, which will try to sell it. Wedding receptions and other parties booked after March 31 have been canceled.
“We hope someday to open at a new location,” Rodemeyer said. “If we’re lucky we’ll be able to regroup.”
In the meantime members are grieving the loss of the lodge.
“It’s sad,” said Jim Burke, who’s been a member since 1970. “It’s always been a place we all got together.”
Hanson and Rodemeyer said they’ll miss the people, too.
“I’m just going to miss all the fun we’ve had,” said Hanson, who’s been a member five years. “We’ve made some good friends here in a short time. We’ll still keep in touch, but it won’t be the same.”
Various community organizations will likely feel the effects from the Elks Lodge closing, too.
Over the years it’s provided scholarships and supported veterans, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youth organizations. It has also hosted Opportunity Village residents once a month for several years.
Transcription and Submission by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2013
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