Panama City, FL –
PORT ST. JOE, Florida (WMBB) – The first United Methodist Church in Port St. Joe began demolition of its sanctuary Sunday morning.
The Reverend Dr Geoffrey Lentz is the senior pastor of the church. He said after Hurricane Michael the shrine was devastated.
“When we entered the building, we found it was no longer structurally sound,” said Reverend Dr Lentz. “There were blown stained glass windows and cracked walls from the towers moving and it just wasn’t salvageable.”
Judy Williams said she has been a member of the church for as long as she can remember.
She said coming to terms with the loss of the building was difficult.
“To see our church being underwater and all the things we loved and cherished and all the memories that just took away was just a heartbreaking experience,” said Williams. “But I’ve learned over the past three years that the church is really just a building. Today has been difficult for me, but I have memories in my heart and in my head that I will never lose.
Williams said she plans to take a brick from the demolished shrine as a keepsake.
“It has been a long process up to this very moment, but we have been happy to be able to step forward here on this third anniversary of the storm to tear down this beautiful old shrine and start over,” Lentz said.
The church hopes to begin construction on the new building on the first of next year.
Construction is expected to take around two years, and the new facilities are expected to be open in early 2024.
“We are starting a new construction process and we hope we can have a new red brick church with stained glass windows and a beautiful tower sitting here on this holy land which has been sacred to our community for generations,” said Rev. Dr Lentz. noted.
The steeple will descend on Wednesday, October 13 at 4 p.m. EST.
Port St. Joe church demolished on 3-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael Source link Port St. Joe church demolished on 3-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael