SWAN VALLEY — The process of building a new Mormon church in Swan Valley could begin as early as this month.
The previous meetinghouse burned down in mid-December, leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation without a permanent home.
Members have been attending church at Swan Valley Elementary School as the closest chapel is 28 miles away in Ririe.
Now plans are being drawn up to replace the destroyed building.
Demolition of the charred remains of the previous building will begin soon. No exact date has been set.
The new church building won’t be laid out like a typical LDS church. Certain modifications are being made to suit the congregation.
“The new church will feature a different type of layout, different from what would be considered a typical LDS church,” LDS spokeswoman Sharon Parry told EastIdahoNews.com. “We have a smaller congregation, so there isn’t a need for as many classrooms and offices.”
“We have always said, ‘Come one, come all.’ Our old building was used by the community for all kinds of events, not just religious. Everyone has been welcomed in, and a large number of the community participated in the use of the building,” Parry said. “We usually see a little over a 100 people on regular Sundays, but on the holidays and vacation season, we see between 400 and 500 people. That’s why there’s the need for a large chapel.”
Parry said it’s not unusual for vacationers from different faiths looking for a Sunday service join their worship.
Once demolition is complete, construction on the new meetinghouse will take place. Parry says it could take as long as 18 months to complete the project.
The cause of the fire that destroyed the original meetinghouse has still not been released, but officials do not believe foul play is involved.
Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com