PORTLAND, Mich.—Less than 24 hours after a tornado hit the Portland area, severely damaging First Baptist Church, Baptist Builders Club was on site to help the church clean up and minister to its community.
Director Michael Nolan arrived at First Baptist June 23 with the Baptist Builders Club disaster relief trailer in tow, which hauls disaster relief supplies and safety gear. Upon arrival, he met with Pastor Gary Coleman and walked through the remains of the building. Local authorities filled Nolan in on cleanup details and disposal regulations. Then after receiving the green light, he and a small group of church volunteers began removing fallen trees and cleaning up debris from the church property and neighbors’ yards, tasks they are continuing today.
After a long day of work on Tuesday, Nolan met at 8:30 p.m. with Coleman and the church leadership team. They discussed the findings of the property, the plan that would take place over the next few days, and a temporary meeting place for the congregation.
The fire marshal ordered that no one enter the building until the bell tower is removed. Crews are to arrive on Thursday to remove the bell tower and other unstable brick. Structural engineers will then reinspect the building. It could be several days before the church finds out exactly what repairs need to be made, but its members are prepared to do what they can, and an insurance company will assist with the removal and storage of contents.
Among all the unknowns of First Baptist Church, one thing is for sure: it needs immediate prayer and financial help, and down the road will need teams to assist in rebuilding. Help can be given today by donating by phone at 888-588-1600, ext. 818, or by mailing a check to Baptist Builders Club, 3715 N. Ventura Dr., Arlington Heights, IL 60004. As always, Baptist Builders Club is the GARBC fellowship in action!