Razing a Roof, Raising a Roof
St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Cedar Rapids


“I’m getting inquiries about what church I belong to that would actually re-roof a member’s house,” noted St. Stephen’s, Cedar Rapids, member, Dave Marner.

St. Stephen’s members did indeed re-roof his house. How that came about is the interesting story.

Earlier this summer St. Stephen’s LaMar Grafft was driving around the neighborhood looking for home improvement projects that needed to be done (Lamar does this every year.) At one point, he turned to his grandson, Hunter Smith, and said, “Boy, that house needs a new roof!”

“Well, that’s Marner’s house,” Hunter noted.

After checking with Dave, the re-roofing project was a “go.” Dave paid for materials, which another member of St. Stephen’s obtained at a deeply discounted price, Lamar organized a work crew and selected a weekend, which was July 29-31.

That weekend featured a slight break in the heat wave that swept Iowa in July and August – temps fell into the 80s. Lamar was happy to see that, as were the more than 30 St Stephen’s members who signed up or simply showed up to help as roofers, lunch and snack providers, water-bottle fillers, clean-up crew, and miscellaneous “gofers.”

When the project began on Friday morning, the crew hoped to have the job done sometime Sunday afternoon. However, as the day progressed, as workers kept showing up, and as workers returned on Saturday, it was clear: the job could be completed by Saturday afternoon – which it was.

Summing it up and expressing thanks to all the helpers, Lamar noted, “Thank you all so very much for making this project EXACTLY how I envisioned it—a time to come together and help a fellow parishioner with a job that needed to be done, and to have wonderful fellowship while doing it! … all of your help made a very difficult task almost enjoyable … this is what the church community is all about.”

Perhaps, though, the best result of the project was not the new roof, but these words which Dave shared with Lamar and the crew a few days later:

“News travels fast and I am getting a lot of comments from neighbors about how good the roof looks. I know my dad was extremely moved by this and he is  probably telling everyone at Cottage Grove Place what the St. Stephen’s members have done!”

As Lamar said at one point, “God is good!”

2635 Northgate Drive
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