Bethel AME Church might be saved following storm damage

Video from WALB
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 5:54 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A historic church in downtown Albany might get its saving grace after it was damaged by strong storms in mid-August.

Bethel AME Church Pastor Michael Ephraim said more assessments have to be made before officials can determine whether or not the church can be saved.

Church leaders have been in contact with the insurance company and the general adjuster.

On Aug. 11, strong winds and heavy rain damaged the roof and knocked down rafters. Church leaders estimate roughly 75% of the church was damaged.

Dr. Michael Ephraim is the pastor of Bethel AME Church.
Dr. Michael Ephraim is the pastor of Bethel AME Church.(WALB)

“We’ve got to go through two or three phases,” Ephraim said. “The first thing we’ve got to do is empty out the first floor. Because there’s some moisture on the first floor that needs to be given some attention. The second thing that we’ve got to do is we’ve got to remove the debris. Once the debris is moved and the top of the building is up, then we move into the phase of demoing out the sanctuary.”

After that’s done, the floor will need to be fixed. And that’s when a structural engineer will decide if the building will have to be demolished.

Either way, church leaders said the interior needs to be overhauled.

“You never want to pour new wine into an old wine bottle. So you want to be forward-looking for generations that are not present here. We’re still early. Haven’t gotten that far into architecture and design, but we want to be forward-looking in whatever we do,” Ephraim said.

There is no set timeline for when the church will be cleaned out and evaluated.