Spring Green church rebuilds using parts of their past

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SPRING GREEN, Wis. (WMTV) -- Just over a year after a fire in Spring Green destroyed the Cornerstone Church the community is coming together to help rebuild it.

In November of 2016 the church, built in the 1860's burned to the ground. The congregation banned together to build a new church on the site, but to complete the project, they had to take down several trees on the property.

Pastor Derek Miller of the Cornerstone Church reached out to Jim Birkemeier, a local business owner, to get help turning the old trees into lumber for the new building.

"It's hard to explain but everything I''ve been doing with forestry has been a calling, a duty and this church project just fits right in," Birkemeie says.

Birkemeier is the owner of Timber Growers, a company that used dead or fallen trees to make lumber for flooring and other projects. He is also a volunteer firefighter and was also one of the first at the scene the night of the fire.

"We couldn't save the building but at least we're going to be able to use the wood and the trees from the yard to rebuild the building in a very special way," Birkemeier says.

He turned nearly 1,000 feed of wood from the one dying ash tree on the property in to paneling for the main wall behind the alter in the new church. One of the two honey locus trees on the property was converted in to a new cross.

"When we finished the main wood on the wall the other day I stood back and looked at it and started crying and I think a bunch of us were tearing up as we looked at the beauty that we had to appreciate," Pastor Derek Miller says.

The first service in the new Cornerstone Church in Spring Green will be held at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Copyright 2016: WMTV