A new roof for New Life Faith Cen­ter

Cecil Whig - - & -

— The Rev. Larry John­son, se­nior pas­tor of New Life Faith Cen­ter on Ja­cob Tome High­way, sits in the church park­ing lot ev­ery day and watches.

“This is ex­cit­ing. I just can’t be­lieve it,” he said Thurs­day. “They work so fast.”

Last Mon­day a crew hired by S.E. Smoker in Stras­burg, Pa. be­gan to re­move the sag­ging roof, in­clud­ing the trusses. Thurs­day morn­ing the trusses were in and 5/8-inch ply­wood sheet­ing was go­ing into place.

PORT DE­POSIT

An­other crew was cov­er­ing that with a mois­ture bar­rier.

“We have 120 days on the con­tract,” John­son said. “But the way they’re work­ing, I’d like to be in by Christ­mas.”

The con­gre­ga­tion has been meet­ing since March in fa­cil­i­ties do­nated to them by Pleas­ant View Bap­tist Church. An engineering firm — Mincin Pa­tel Mi­lano in Bal­ti­more — stud­ied the 33-year-old build­ing af­ter cracks ap­peared in the walls. A let­ter to the church re­vealed that lit­tle was hold­ing the de­cay­ing trusses in place.

“Within the orig­i­nal por­tion of the build­ing ... we ob­served that ba­si­cally each ex­ist­ing scis­sor truss was dam­aged,” the let­ter read. “This con­di­tion rep­re­sents par­tial struc­tural fail­ure and ad­versely af­fects the struc­tural in­tegrity of the build­ing.”

Worse yet, the in­sur­ance pol­icy the church car­ried to pro­tect the build­ing was use­less. John­son said it would not pay any money to­ward the re­pairs. Now fac­ing a $271,000 bill, the con­gre­ga­tion is fundrais­ing.

“We raised al­most $3,600 at our ‘Raise the Roof’ fundraiser,” the pas­tor said. For that event, five bands played un­der the pavil­ion of the Amer­i­can Le­gion in Havre de Grace.

“The Le­gion let us use their pavil­ion for free,” John­son said, ex­press­ing his grat­i­tude for that and the many other dis­plays of sup­port shown to the church so far.

“We’re hop­ing and pray­ing by the time we get this done we’ll have more money com­ing in,” he added.

Once the roof is fin­ished, John­son said the work would shift in­side, re­plac­ing all the duct­work and util­i­ties. Before the trusses went up, John­son said, a struc­tural con­crete pil­lar had to be poured to sup­port the roof.

“That added about $5,000 to the project,” John­son said.

New Life Faith Cen­ter could not hold its pop­u­lar va­ca­tion bible school this sum­mer. John­son said some of his faith­ful also have not been to church since, choos­ing not to at­tend at the al­ter­nate site.

He’s been touched by the fi­nan­cial sup­port re­ceived not only from the con­gre­ga­tion but also from non­mem­bers and other churches in the com­mu­nity.

“When it’s all said and done, we’re go­ing to have a nice ser­vice and in­vite all the churches and peo­ple who helped us,” John­son said. “We want to give them a meal and thank them.”

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