Last updated: August 25. 2013 7:54AM - 196 Views

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ADA — In the month since fire ravaged the historic First United Methodist Church, one thing that hasn't been lacking — offers to help. Offers have come from both near and far, Trustee Bob McCurdy said.Students at Ohio Northern University and Bluffton University have held fundraisers. Congregations locally and from out of state have offered choir robes, hymnals and just generally asked how they can help, McCurdy said.“It's been very heartening,” he said. “I think it bodes well for the future. We are so thankful for all the support and are especially appreciative of the support within the Ada community.”The congregation continues to worship Sunday mornings in the English Chapel on the ONU campus, something that began the Sunday after the March 13 fire. The university continues to offer office and meeting space for the church as well, McCurdy said.“Those arrangements are working well,” McCurdy said. “The immediate needs have been cared for.”Efforts have begun to look for longer term solutions for the church.“We are investigating a longer-term, temporary location and have visited with and are in preliminary talks with the landlord for the former Ada Baptist Church, which is located just a half block east of our current location on East Highland,” McCurdy said. “We've inspected it. It would certainly meet our needs. Hopefully, we'll be able to work out an agreement to occupy that sometime this summer.”No decisions have been made about what will happen with the church's old location at the corner of Highland Avenue and Main Street, McCurdy said. Much of the church was demolished for safety reasons the week of the blaze. Church officials are deciding what to do with the property.“Right now, the site itself has just about been completely cleaned. The EPA found traces of asbestos and required special hazardous handling of all the rubble which extended the length of the cleanup considerably,” McCurdy said. “What you see today is probably what will be there until some decisions are made.”A final decision about where the church will be located, what the church will look like and other such considerations will come as church leaders meet with insurance representatives and officials from the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, McCurdy said. The congregation could be in a permanent home sometime in the next two to three years, McCurdy said.“There's no interest in dragging it out, but there's no interest in rushing it out either. We want to make sure we do the best we can do with the understanding it's going to be there a long time,” McCurdy said. “Energy is still high. I would say it's shifted from emotional energy to kind of a new excitement. I think folks realize this is an opportunity that not everyone has in their lifetime to start from scratch and do it with a strong base. People are excited.”

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