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Progress made at rural Oshkosh church

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 10:27 AM CDT
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Rural places of worship mean so much to area families, and efforts continue to bring the Antelope Valley Church back to it's original condition.

Seven miles northeast of Oshkosh, you'll find the Antelope Valley church and cemetery. As part of our coverage for Pure Nebraska, we visited the church in July of 2017, and at that time, the exterior was in disrepair. Two years later, we visited again to find the exterior looking as good as new. The people of the area are on a mission to save and restore this church. It was originally built in 1916. The first person buried in the cemetery was in 1897.

Ardeen McCord is one of the volunteers working to restore the church. She says the church was originally built out of homemade cinder block, then covered by stucco. The church is not used right now, but the hope is it can be completely restored and used for gatherings, family reunions, and memorial services.

"My aunt moved over here in 1945, and she was a devoted church person," McCord said. "She was a part of this church for 50 years, and that's how I got involved."

McCord says the history of the church and knowing what the people went through to build the first one makes it special. She says a committee continues to work toward completely restoring the church that closed in the 1990's. The inside of the church looks like it did when it closed.

"What we want to do now is remodel the inside. The exterior has been done," McCord said. "We raised approximately $50,000 in 2016 and 2017. We did all of the stucco, the decorative shingles, and we ran cement around the bottom of the church to stop the wicking up of snow that would blow in. The church now has all new windows, and each window was bought and paid for by descendants of people that are buried out here. The main door is brand new and it was donated. Plus, a man from Lincoln named Jim White, personally made our stained-glass window and brought it out in his car and installed it. He is a descendant of the people who belonged to this church, and he grew up around here."

"This year we hope to raise another $20,000 to $25,000," McCord said. "It all needs to be painted inside, and we are putting it out for bids for the interior painting and also to be rewired, because there is no electricity inside right now." If you would like to learn more, or find an address where you can mail a donation, go to antelopevalleychurch.org for all the details.