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Old Wellesley church fire now deemed suspicious

Officials temporarily closed down Moser Young Road and Lawson Line in Wellesley Township on Saturday as they worked to clear the debris from a church fire. Damage was estimated at $75,000. [Veronica Reiner]
Old Wellesley Church on fire [Submitted]
An arson investigation is underway after a church fire in  Wellesley Township Saturday morning.

Waterloo Regional Police and firefighters from the Wellesley Fire Department’s Linwood station were called to Orthodox Mennonite Church on Moser Young Road near Lawson Line at 5:40 a.m.

“When they got there … there were some walls still standing, but it had collapsed into itself already,” said Wellesley fire chief Paul Redman.

“Then we passed it off to the [Office of the Fire Marshal], and agreed with the suspicions … we’ve left it as an arson fire and turned it over to the regional police with their investigation now.”

Officials temporarily closed down Moser Young Road and Lawson Line in Wellesley Township on Saturday as they worked to clear the debris from a church fire. Damage was estimated at $75,000. [Veronica Reiner]
Damage from the fire was estimated at $75,000. Redman said that the wooden structure had been burning at least 15 or 20 minutes before the call came in.

The church had been used occasionally for functions such as funerals, but had seen little regular use for the past 30 years.

“A building with no hydro or utilities, just to start on fire … doesn’t really sit,” said Redman. “It’s not a huge loss, but is still a significant building. It is a church, and symbolic of a community. It’s important that we make sure a proper investigation gets done.”

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  1. Thank you very much for your report, even though it has to be a sad one. I attended that meetinghouse for years, until I grew up and moved on. Fro the last 38 years we have not lived in Canada. In Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and Australia, we have found other places to live. But, whenever I dream (while sleeping) about attending meeting, it is always here. In this building. Whether the building is gone now or not, it will continue to live in my memory!

    I am very sorry for the fire. My brother, Cleason Hoover, designed this building after another arson-lit fire destroyed the previous one in the early 1970s. My father, Anson Hoover, was one of the ministers in this congregation, and one of the founders of the Orthodox Mennonite Church. My grandfather, Menno Hoover, coined the remarkable name “Orthodox Mennonite.”

    Yes, it is too bad to lose the building. But, in a strange way, I do not feel terrible about it. Sort of a final chapter to a long, somewhat complicated story. Everything will burn anyway, sooner or later. What is of much greater interest to me, is how it stands with all the people who attended here. Are we all ready to meet the Lord when he comes again? We had our struggles, our issues here. Are we ready to leave all that hinders behind us, to meet the Lord in peace, with him, and with all around us? That, for me is the only thing that really matters.

    Peter Hoover

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