Boone’s Chapel continues to rebuild, reach communitycomment (0)
July 12, 2012
The EF3 tornado that struck April 15, 2011, moved the sanctuary of Boone’s Chapel Baptist Church, Prattville, off its slab.
The preschool and children’s wing was severely damaged and ultimately was razed, added Mike Johnson, pastor of the Autauga Baptist Association church.
For worship services, members are meeting in the church’s multipurpose building.
The congregation decided to rebuild the preschool and children’s wing, only bigger, Johnson said. “We upped the size considerably.”
The 17,000-square-foot structure will also house administrative offices and feature a “safe room” that will hold about 100 people and will be made available to the community.
The safe room is made of concrete and reinforced steel, with a 12-inch-thick ceiling, Johnson explained.
The congregation wanted this feature because a lot of homes in the community do not have a safe place where people can take shelter during a storm.
“They really responded to the community” by including the new safe room, said Bill Morgan, director of missions for Autauga Association.
Gov. Robert Bentley allocated $66,000 from his emergency relief fund to help pay for the safe room and ABC Concrete donated some of its services.
The new building is expected to be finished in September, Johnson said.
The storm’s damage allowed the church to strategize for the future. The larger size for the preschool and children’s wing takes into account the 8,300 homes within a five-mile radius of the church.
Preparing for the future
Currently the church has a Wednesday outreach for children and youth that requires a large space. Also Johnson said the church plans to start a mother’s day out program in the fall because that seems to be a need in the community.
The storm also appears to have had other, positive impacts on the church.
Since the storm, Boone’s Chapel Baptist has added a second morning worship service on Sundays, baptized a number of adults and has increased in Sunday School enrollment.
In addition, Johnson and some others in the church completed disaster relief training in the areas of chaplaincy, chain saw and food service.
“I see the need,” Johnson said. “There’s always going to be need.”