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First Hispanic Baptist Church suffers steeple damage from stormscomment (0)

June 19, 2014

By Julie Payne


First Hispanic Baptist Church suffers steeple damage from storms

Strong thunderstorms the evening of June 9 left the steeple barely dangling from the roof of First Hispanic Baptist Church, the mission church of First Baptist Church, Athens.

First Hispanic Baptist Church, led by Pastor Raul Tovar, has been meeting in its building on North Madison Street in Athens for about 12 years, said Keith Smyser, minister of education and administration for First, Athens.

Smyser noted the damage, which was caused by severe thunderstorms in the area, most likely occurred sometime between 8 and 10 p.m. 

The steeple, which managed to stay intact and anchored to the roof despite being practically blown off by strong winds, was removed following the storms. During the initial assessment of the damage, Smyser noted it appeared there also was some roof damage from the sheer force of the steeple bending. 

At press time, it was yet to be determined if the existing steeple could be reused and placed back on the roof. 

Worship location not affected

Smyser said the damage would not affect worship at the location. “The only thing they’ll lose for a while are the three or four parking spaces (the) steeple is sitting in,” he said.

This is the second time in two months the First Hispanic Baptist congregation, which has about 20 members, has experienced damage to its property. Smyser said winds from the tornado outbreak in late April blew down the brick sign in front of the church, but members were able to repair it. “They are very resolute,” Smyser said. 

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