Church reopens with community help

Last updated: April 16. 2014 12:15PM - 2046 Views
By - mechelberry@civitasmedia.com

Gospel Baptist Church was the victim of extensive flood damage last summer. Ten months later, it reopened with a Palm Sunday service. (Inquirer photo/Matt Echelberry)
Gospel Baptist Church was the victim of extensive flood damage last summer. Ten months later, it reopened with a Palm Sunday service. (Inquirer photo/Matt Echelberry)
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Ten months have passed since a major flash flood sent four feet of water and mud inside Gospel Baptist Church. The area received eight-and-a-half inches of rain in about 90 minutes on June 12, 2013.

The Inquirer went out that week to take photos of the damage. Those who helped with the cleanup looked saddened and defeated as they carried out pews and other items.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

The church, located two miles west of Galion at 5670 State Route 19, launched a major rebuilding/remodeling project since then. A grand re-opening was held on Sunday, April 13, and the Inquirer was invited back to see the progress. There was a much different atmosphere inside the church, which looked like a whole new building.

Gospel Baptist first hosted a service for Palm Sunday that morning. Church officials cut a ribbon to make the re-opening official and the Wynford High School band performed. More than 400 people attended the service, and at least 50 of them had never been to the church before. More stopped by for the open house afterward.

Pastor Monty Trammel reflected that it was an awesome day. “We were back home,” he began, referring to the church’s sanctuary that was entirely remodeled. He added that many of the congregation members reclaimed the seats they always used to sit in.

“It’s been a long ten months but we never missed one service,” Trammel continued. Since the flood, the congregation had been holding services in its Family Life Center, a separate building that was spared from damage.

With the exception of that building and three classrooms, Trammel recalled that the flood “literally destroyed everything” inside the 40,000-square-foot church. Insurance did not cover any of the damage.

Isaiah 33:2: “O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.”

The mantra the congregation adopted is “Stand Strong” — through all the challenges of the last ten months. Trammel credited his congregation for taking that mantra to heart. He added that his wife, Lori, gave him the strength to do the same.

Lori, who was just a few feet away talking to others, said it was amazing to be back in the church. “We have amazing people and God led it all,” she said with a smile.

Family Pastor Matt Barton, and Deacons Chuck Sipes and Chuck Taylor, all had nothing but praise for the new and improved facility. But all agreed it was a long, uphill battle.

The church officials explained how the re-opening was made possible. Initially, Shambaugh Cleaning & Water Restoration cleaned the church inside and out.

Then a $550,000 loan was borrowed for the project. In addition, pictures from the flood and a PayPal account were put on the church’s website, www.gospelbaptist.com, for donations. Other churches and individuals from throughout the community contributed. Even a woman from England made a donation.

A craft show was held at the church last weekend. More than 1,500 people came and the church raised $5,000.

“There aren’t enough words for my appreciation,” Trammel commented. “It was truly a community effort, and it took everybody.”

Jason Neal Construction was hired as the contractor for the remodel and worked since the beginning of the year. Much of the interior had to be rebuilt and needed new drywall. The officials said the contractor did a tremendous job and adhered to all of their specifications.

Also, Greenwood Floor & Design Center installed more than 30,000 square feet of carpet and Ben’s Custom Paint used about 250 gallons of paint to re-coat all of the walls.

Outside, a ditch runs through the back of the property. It was made wider and deeper, and a pond across the road was removed to improve water flow. Trammel noted that the surrounding landowners made this possible.

Officials from Polk Township, the County Engineer’s Office, the Soil and Water Conservation District and the Ohio Department of Transportation were all recognized as well for working together for the benefit of Gospel Baptist Church.

Bob Godby, a congregation member, created a video that is now on YouTube. It shows the flood damage, the progress made over the last ten months and the final product. To view it, go to www.youtube.com and type in “Gospel Baptist: Victory Over Adversity.”

James 1:2-4: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

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