On July 4, the Fredsville Cemetery was vandalized with more than 30 headstones damaged. Many of these headstones are historic dating back 150 years and include even a historic stone belonging to a baby who died during the 1918 flu pandemic.  One piece was an original from the Danish settlers who established the church back in 1871.

Although it was devastating to see the damage, the community came together.  Congregation and community members came the next evening to clean up the mess and collect evidence.

On July 7 Pastor Lisa Dietrich led a prayer service at the cemetery to restore peace and healing.  Prayers were offered both for those who were affected by the destruction and the unknown people who perpetrated the violence.

The service is available on YouTube.

The incident is being investigated by Grundy County Sheriff’s Office and if anyone has any information to share they are asked to contact the Sheriff.

The cost to restore the gravestones is estimated to be well into tens of thousands although the historic gravestones can never be replaced.  If you would like to help with the costs, you can donate on the church website, Fredsville Lutheran Church.

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.

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