Aldridge Community Missionary Baptist Church, located in the Aldridge community near Parrish, has been forced to shut its santuary’s doors after severe roof damage was discovered earlier this week. Pastor J.D. Dickerson said church officials realized the damage after a loud noise was heard Tuesday night when some members were decorating for vacation bible school.
“They said it sounded like a cannon went off,” Dickerson said. “I wasn’t here, but I came down to see what could have happened. We figured out it was one of our roof trusses had broken.”
Dickerson said the roof originally had 20 trusses, but as of Wednesday afternoon, 18 of those had broken.
“There are only two trusses holding that roof up,” he said. “With that being the case, we had to shut it down today. No one can go in or out of our church building. We can’t even go in to get our stuff out.”
Services at the church have been moved to the ACMBC Family Life Center until the roof can be repaired. The church held a service Wednesday night that ended with a special prayer time.
“We just wanted to pray for our church,” Dickerson said. “This is a setback, but God is in control, and He will see us through this just like he has seen us through everything else.”
The current church building has only been in place since 1998, when ACMBC was rebuilt after a fire destroyed its old building. The current damage to the roof is believed to have happened last week when lightning struck the building.
“We think it was the lightning strike combined with some wind damage that may have happened in last year’s tornadoes,” Dickerson said. “The lightning strike last week shook the entire building. It even shot tiles out of the floor and into the sheetrock in one area. It was a major strike and that’s what started the trusses breaking.”
In the aftermath of last April’s tornadoes, Aldridge Community Missionary turned into a recovery hub for the small community. Many homes were damaged in the community, and Dickerson said the church helped provide more than 200 people three meals per day for 12 days.
“We were here for the Aldridge community, because that is what a church is supposed to do,” he said. “A church should always uplift the Lord, feed the hungry and clothe the naked. That’s what we try to do whether someone goes to this church or not. If they are in this community, we are going to care for them.”
Due to the roof damage, the church has cancelled its VBS, which was scheduled to begin Sunday.
“We’ll reschedule it for later in August or September,” Dickerson said.
The church also had to put together a makeshift audio system for Wednesday night’s service, because their audio system could not be retrieved from its santuary.
“Nobody is going in there until we know it is safe,” Dickerson said. “I’m thankful that roof has held on and no one has been hurt. We will make due with what we have for now.”
Dickerson requested citizens throughout Walker County remember the 300-member church in their prayers.
“We don’t know for sure what the future holds yet,” he said. “We are waiting on the insurance company to let us know something. What we do know is that God is faithful. We want believers across our county to be in prayer for our church and for our future.”
Until the roof issue is corrected, Sunday services will take place at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the church’s gym, and Wednesday night sevices will be held at 7 p.m. in the same facility.