TABOR, Iowa — The Bartlett Community Church is no longer in Bartlett. The congregation has voted to not return to its white-steepled church building it has called home since 1899. The congregation is meeting this summer in a senior citizen home in nearby Tabor.
The floods of 2019 have taken a toll washing out the church basement wall foundation and flooding the entire building.
“When we voted, we voted whether to go back to Bartlett or not, and it was a unanimous vote not to go back because of the threat of flood again,” said Pastor Darrell Hopp, who has overseen the flock for 31 years. “He always has a plan for us. You know, we don’t know where it’s at. It might be different things. It could be anything. I think all of us in this church are willing to do whatever God calls us to do.”
The Bartlett Church is not sure where they will go. They may rent space rather than construct a church building.
“This church still today gives quite the little money to anybody in the community that has had a car wreck, had a fire, or some terrible thing has happened. We still do that,” said Hopp. “All the money that we might have, or might get, we don’t want to spend it all on just having another beautiful church building. We want to help the people of the community.”
On July 21, that church discussed a family with a child in the hospital they planned to give some help to.
The church is not eligible for a federal buyout. They may tear down the building, but it most likely could not be resold.
No church members still live in the town. Bartlett may only have one or two people who still live there, plus a metal salvage yard which may soon reopen for business. Access to the town is only from the east. The nearby Interstate 29 interchange is still closed due to the flood. Several homes east of town have been surrounded by water since March.