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Clarke Association church regrouping after stormcomment (0)

January 6, 2005

By Anthony Wade

Hopewell Baptist Church, Grove Hill, was swept from its church building into the homes of members for church services after severe weather battered its buildings on Nov. 24.
At press time the congregation was meeting in the homes of various church members. 
Meeting in homes will likely continue until a mobile chapel is secured for the congregation, according to Jack Wright, director of missions, Clarke Association. The mobile chapel was expected to be in place by the end of December.
The first Sunday after the storm Hopewell members had not had time to plan where they would be meeting, so Hopewell Pastor Don White said he encouraged his congregation to visit neighboring churches. Some attended Oak Grove Baptist Church and others Chilton Baptist Church.
The following Sunday the congregation met in White’s home. He said people are optimistic and are working together. “We can handle this with the Lord’s help. He was so good to us,” White said.            

“Everyone’s pulling together to make it through.”
Bobby DuBois, associate executive director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM), helped secure a mobile chapel for the church. 
Mobile chapels have been increasingly needed in the state after recent storm damage, especially after Hurricane Ivan hit the state in September, according to DuBois.
He noted that the SBOM continues to have a waiting list for these units, but that Hopewell would be able to use the one provided them for as long as it is needed, which is the case with other Alabama Baptist churches.
DuBois also said a distribution of money from the SBOM’s designated general disaster relief fund has been sent to Hopewell.
White expressed thanks for the SBOM’s help and said the church was ready for the chapel. 
“We already have a place on the church property selected for the chapel,” he said at press time. “As soon as it gets here we’ll be ready to hook up the power and water and begin having services in it.”
White also noted that contractors in south Alabama are still stretched thin as rebuilding continues after Hurricane Ivan. Nonetheless, the church has had two contractors evaluate the damage and waits for official bids to come.
Meanwhile insurance claims adjusters and church leaders were inspecting and evaluating the damage that drove the congregation out of Hopewell Baptist.
White said damage to the church was severe but the walls of the church buildings appear to be intact — no bulging or blown out walls. 
But the roofs are another story. 
“Most of the roofing shingles and plywood decking has been blown off. Some rafters will have to replaced as well,” he said. 
Nearly all of the interior furnishings of the church were damaged by water, so they will have to be replaced, White noted. He said they are attempting to salvage the church pews, but he is not sure whether their efforts will be successful. 
An education wing off of the sanctuary suffered widespread roof damage, according to White. “There were huge holes in the roof over that area,” he said.
Over in the fellowship hall there is a two- to four-inch gap where the roof is supposed to join the wall at one end of the fellowship hall. 
Winds lifted the roof and set it back down again, causing that damage, White said.
He said because of the water damage, gaping holes in the roof and the questionable status of the structure of the remaining roof in the sanctuary, the church has suspended any services or meetings within the church buildings.

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