From Iceland — Old Church Threatened by Flood

Old Church Threatened by Flood

Published May 13, 2009

A centuries-old church in the West Fjörds with an unlucky history finds itself threatened by flood waters.
Known simply as the Old Ísafjörður Church, it caught fire in 1987 and was partially destroyed. The town united behind preserving the structure, and wanted to build a new church on the same spot. In order to do that, the congregation was obliged in 1991 to disassemble it, plank by plank, labelling each piece no matter what condition it was in. These pieces were then moved to what was considered a safe location, and a shelter was built around it.
Unfortunately, particularly high run-off waters from melting snow on the mountains has created flood conditions in the area, threatening to further damage the pieces of the church.
“I unfortunately don’t see a solution to this problem at this time,” the Reverend Magnús Erlingsson, the pastor of Ísafjörður, told local newspaper Bæjarins Bestu. “This is the plot that the municipality gave us. The church doesn’t have a large reserve of funds at its disposal to buy a new plot.”
There is a plan on the books to rebuild the church in Skutulsfjörður. When asked if he had faith that this would happen, Erlingsson told reporters, “It would take quite a bit of money to rebuild the church in this way, as it would need to be done in its old image. I don’t know where that money would come from, as it’s not as if there’s a lot of money lying around these days.”

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