32 Fla. Baptist churches feel brunt of Charley’s wind & rain
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)--On-site assessments have identified 32 Florida Baptist church buildings that have been destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Charley.
The buildings of three churches were destroyed, all in the Peace River Baptist Association in the rural area of Arcadia: Oak Hill Baptist Church, Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.
The remaining 29 church buildings sustained damage that was classified between minimal to heavy, according to assessments completed through Aug. 20. In addition, two homes of pastors have been reported with damage.
No dollar figure has been assigned to the damages and losses experienced by churches throughout southwest Florida. Assessment teams, which have visited more than 150 church facilities, continue to visit every church within the eight-county area the storm traveled through Aug. 13 and 14.
Six churches in three associations are reported to have sustained heavy damage. Four are in the Peace River Association: First Baptist Church, Charlotte Harbor; Eastside Baptist Church, Punta Gorda; First Baptist Church, Punta Gorda; and Brownville Baptist Church, Arcadia. Also heavily damaged were First Baptist Church, Zolfo Springs, in the Orange Blossom Baptist Association and West Side Baptist Church, Lake Wales, in the Ridge Baptist Association.
Seven churches in three associations were reported to have experienced moderate damage. Four are in the Ridge Association: First Baptist Church, Frostproof; Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship, Frostproof; Southside Baptist Church, Frostproof; and First Baptist Church, Lake Wales. Two are in the Peace River Association: Redeemer Haitian Baptist Church, Port Charlotte, and Trinity Baptist Church, Punta Gorda. Oak Park Baptist Church, Fort Meade, in the Orange Blossom Association, also was moderately damaged.
Sixteen churches suffered minimal damage. Those in the Peace River Association are: Liberty Community Church, North Port; First Baptist Church, Port Charlotte; Murdock Baptist Church, Port Charlotte; and First Baptist Church, Nocatee. Churches in the Royal Palm Association reported to have minimal damage are: First Baptist Church, Fort Myers Beach; North Side Baptist Church, North Fort Myers; and Ebenezer Haitian Baptist Church, Fort Myers. Churches in the Orange Blossom Association: Immanuel Baptist Church, Bowling Green; First Baptist Church, Fort Meade; Southside Baptist Church, Wauchula; and First Baptist Church, Wauchula. Churches in the Ridge Association, all in Lake Wales: Bethel Baptist Church; Central Avenue Baptist Church; Golfview Baptist Church; Wayside Baptist Church; and Lake Pierce Baptist Church.
Churches whose pastors are reported to have damaged homes are located in the Orange Blossom Association: Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, Fort Meade, and Oak Grove Baptist Church, Wauchula.
Barbara Denman is communications director for the Florida Baptist Convention.