The St. George Church of God's place of worship is being threatened by a damaged foundation, which is placing great stress on the church's members to collect the funds necessary to construct a new building.
The Church of God serves the small St. George community in Tucker County with Pastor Carolyn Shreve officiating. The church moved to its current location at 474 Location Road in 2004.
In the fall of 2011, Shreve said a young member of the church crawled under the building and the adjoining home to photograph the condition of the foundation. The results were disconcerting.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anna Patrick
Pastor Carolyn Shreve of the St. George Church of God looks over her church’s sanctuary that sits on an old, faulty foundation which is causing great distress and concern among church members. Instead of trying to repair the already damaged foundation, Shreve and church members are working quickly to raise $60,000 to build a new church.
"Our foundation is just completely gone. With the house that is attached to the church, the foundation is going under it, too," Shreve said.
After the foundation was photographed, it was clear to see that some of the floor beams were broken and bent, and the support beams were failing. Without even viewing the foundation, it is clear to anyone who enters the church that it is in need of great repair. An extremely large dip in the center of the floor is visible and the church pews slope at an angle toward the center of the room .
"It would cost a whole lot of money to redo the foundation. We decided since it's such an old building that we didn't want to put that much money into it," Shreve said. "The contractor said that he didn't even want to touch it. He thought that since it is such an old building that we would run into a lot more problems."
Since repairing the current structure has been ruled out as an option, the church members are now working feverishly to raise enough funds to build a new church behind the current building.
"It is our hope to construct a 40-by-60-foot structure to serve the needs of a place of worship and to serve the Lord our God," Shreve said. "The new building will house two classrooms, a pastor's office and a sanctuary."
Shreve explained that a number of bake sales have been conducted by fundraiser coordinator, Susie Jones; the church sold food at St. George Days and in the in the winter months more than 800 pounds of home-made hard tacky candy was sold.
The church has currently collected $8,000 and set a goal of raising $60,000. Shreve said the church will hire a contractor to build the structure. To complete the interior work, they plan to ask church and community members to help with the project.
"We've been blessed with carpenters and electricians in the church," she said.
Shreve hopes to complete the new church by winter because local contractor, Todd Bollard, said if the area experienced a hard winter with a lot of heavy snowfall, the church's roof would not be able to support the weight.
The church's annual revival was scheduled for May, but for the first year in the revival's history it had to be canceled.
"We usually have a house full of people, but we canceled it due to the condition of the building. We didn't want to put any more stress on the structure," Shreve said.
"Our goal is to get us a building up as quick as we can for the continued ministry here," she said. "A solid structure will help generations to come."
Shreve will celebrate her 20th anniversary as pastor of the St. George Church of God in September.
"I've been in ministry all my life and I just want to keep the ministry going in this area so that people can come in and have their needs met," she said.
The St. George Church of God has a total of 46 members. The church meets at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. every Sunday and at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.
To make donations to the St. George Church of God's fund, checks can be mailed to: Pastor Carolyn Shreve at 474 Location Road, Parsons, WV 26287 or the St. George Church of God Building Account Fund at Mountain Valley Bank at 401 First St. Parsons, WV 26287.