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Art gallery, gift shop in church

Proceeds help pay utility bills, upkeep for Barnum congregation

July 24, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

BARNUM - Everything at the new By the Grace of God nondenominational church in Barnum seems to be working well these days.

The Rev. Dan Prochaska just built a prayer garden with a solar-powered fountain. A gift shop has been set up with donations from church members and others who want to help, with all proceeds going to the church. And now there's an art gallery at the church, with 20 percent of the proceeds of any sales going to the church.

That way area artists have a place to display their work, the possibility of selling it, and the church gets a helping hand in the money department.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Sandy Mickelson
By the Grace of God Church in Barnum will hold an open house today so visitors can see the nondenominational church, which opened in November 2009. A gift shop full of donated items and an art gallery help fund the day-to-day expenses of the church.

An open house will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today to let people see the church, which opened in November 2009. A light lunch will be offered in the lower level social hall, and tours of the church will be provided.

"The art gallery is in the parsonage area," said Millie Nordeen, of Fort Dodge, who occasionally attends services there and totally backs the fledgling church. She's a member of First Presbyterian Church.

"We welcome local artists to display and sell their artwork," she said. "Several artists have work on display."

She is one of those artists, along with Marian Jensen and Fayma Vande Stouwe. It is hoped, Nordeen said, that those numbers grow, thereby offering a wider variety of art.

"People may think it's odd to have an art gallery and a gift shop in a church," Nordeen said. "But other churches have garage sales and other things to help raise money."

By the Grace of God Church is the former Catholic Church, which closed several years ago. Keeping the building a church seemed the only logical thing to do, Nordeen said.

"We're not doing it for ourselves," added Jensen, a member of St. Olaf Lutheran Church. "We're doing it for the grace of God. You can't ask for anything more - the love of the whole system, it just grows on you."

She, too, attends services at the church at least once a month.

"It's so serene," she said. "You just sit here, and I even like the open windows - it brings the nature in."

Both women agree that the messages given by Prochaska pull people in.

"He preaches out of the Bible," Nordeen said. "He gives a real nice sermon. I feel a need to come here. I love these people."

She said the average Sunday attendance may not be large yet, but whenever anything special happens, the place is packed. "You walk away from here with a message in your heart."

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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