55-Year-Old Grants Pass church undergoing demolition to start anew

Grants Pass, Ore. — A Grants Pass church is honoring the past while building for the future.

“Guess what? No going back now!” Father William Holtzinger of Saint Anne’s Church said.

A bittersweet moment for the members of Saint Anne’s Church in Grants Pass as they watched their place of worship crumble Monday morning

“It was a little sad this morning, but sadness… it will turn to joy soon!” church member Kathy Nelson said.

Kathy Nelson has been a member of the church for 17 years.

It’s a special place where she and her family and friends have marked important milestones – from baptisms to weddings to funerals.

“God has been very good to us,” Nelson said.

It’s become a second home for her.

But both Nelson and Father William Holtzinger say it was time to start anew.

“Our ability to worship was not impaired, but the new church will bring a much more cohesive faith community,” Nelson said.

According to Father Holtzinger, the new church will be traditional Romanesque style.

“Me as a preacher I was turning this way, or turning that way, and depending which way I turned you heard me. Now it will be one straight thing with two main rows of pews,” Father Holtzinger said.

Father Holtzinger says he’s been amazed at the generosity of the community.

Intending to raise 2.5 million dollars, the church has exceeded its goal with donations sitting at 3.8 million dollars.

“We had no idea that this fundraising event would totally fund a building above and beyond what our actual dollar amount was,” Nelson said.

Father Holtzinger says the extra money will be set aside in a reserve fund for maintenance in the future.

Which he hopes is a very bright future for the community in the many years to come.

“This is for the glory of God, for His kingdom and to inspire people to help them to worship as Catholic Christians. Of course, everybody is welcome to come,” Father Holtzinger said.

Father Holtzinger expects demolition to last three days.

He says the plan is to start laying a new foundation September 17th with the church opening 12 months later.

NBC5 News Multimedia Journalist Elizabeth Ruiz was raised in Northern Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Journalism and Media Communication. She also minored in Spanish and studied in Spain. While at Colorado State, she was an anchor and reporter for CTV Channel 11.

Elizabeth loves Zumba dancing, singing and spending time with her family.

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