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Help save the steeple

Pastor Joey Klinger, in front of Redemption Lutheran Church's steeple.
Pastor Joey Klinger, in front of Redemption Lutheran Church’s steeple.

When a building addition and steeple were built at Redemption Lutheran Church in the 1950s, the steeple was believed to be one of the highest points in the Northeast.

Over the years, the roof and steeple became in disrepair.

That was a large financial challenge for the small church, located at 8001 Bustleton Ave. (at Rhawn Street).

But Pastor Joey Klinger believed it was necessary to repair the roof and steeple, to continue all the work done by the church in Rhawnhurst and surrounding areas.

“We want to show the love of God at the corner of Bustleton and Rhawn,” he said.

Redemption Lutheran was formed in 1929, and Klinger hopes to celebrate the church’s 95th anniversary in two years by bringing back the carillon, which sounded bells to mark the hour.

More immediate, though, was the condition of the roof and steeple. A fundraiser was launched in February, with a goal of $85,000.

The pastor is appreciative that members – 50 or so attend weekly services Sundays at 10 a.m. – have come through financially.

The roof was in worse shape than first thought. The cost for a new rubber industrialized roof was $55,000, and the work has been completed.

Now, attention has turned to the steeple. The cost of repairs – including powerwashing and repainting the steeple and replacing its windows – is estimated to be $27,000. Work will begin soon.

“It’s definitely part of the community. It has an iconic look,” Klinger said of the steeple.

Of the $85,000 goal, a little more than $65,000 has been raised.

“We’re getting there,” said Klinger, pastor for 4½ years.

Points of pride for Redemption Lutheran include a nursery school for 3- and 4-year-olds. The school has been open for more than 30 years, and it helped raise some money through a chocolate sale.

The church recently offered a free four-week concert series. Members used to volunteer for Friends of Pennypack Park, and are looking forward to doing so again when the group returns, as expected.

Redemption Lutheran sponsors monthly service projects and assists Feast of Justice and Caring for Friends.

The church opens its doors for meetings of Girl Scouts and N.A., and a Pakistani Presbyterian church and a Haitian Seventh-day Adventist Church worship there.

Upcoming events include a yard sale on June 18, basket bingo in September and a Victorian Tea in December.

To make a tax-deductible donation, visit RedemptionPhiladelphia.org, and go to “Donate” in the menu. ••

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