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Funeral home buying church

December 21, 2010
Kylie Saari — Staff Writer

TRUMAN - Zaharia Family Funeral and Cremation Service in Truman will soon be moving down the street.

Members of Community Baptist Church in Truman have voted unanimously to accept an offer from funeral home owners John and Teresa Zaharia.

The congregation voted earlier this year to disband, and has been searching for an appropriate use for its building.

Attempts to sell it to the city of Truman for use as city offices fell through after City Council members decided a purchase would result it too much strain on an already-tight city budget.

Zaharia offered $38,000 for the site, and will begin the process of converting the church for his business' needs. The sanctuary will be left as a chapel and viewing area. Other than the inclusion of a preparation room, the space is perfect for a funeral home, Zaharia said.

The church has handicap-accessible bathrooms, kitchen and lunch areas, and office space, something the funeral home was short on.

Zaharia's current location was built in 1954 as Olson Funeral Services, an addition to the rear of a home.

Community Baptist Church will continue to meet at the site for the time being, and Zaharia offered to let the congregation use the space for Sunday services.

"The only decision that was made was to sell the building to Zaharia," said Bob Winter, representative of the church.

Winter said the changes that will need to be made to convert the church into a funeral home may or may not cause the congregation to consider a move.

"What impact (the changes) will have we just don't know," he said.

"In our business the last thing we want to see is a church closing," Zaharia said. "So we want to do what we can to keep them going."

Zaharia had joked about buying the church when the city began discussing it, but didn't give it much thought.

"After it didn't work for the city, (the church) came to me," he said.

Zaharia plans to open its new facility in four to six weeks.



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