With cracks in the exterior brick, several holes in the roof, cracks in the ceiling and a basement thick with dangerous mold, Pastor Betty Banner has one conclusion: “We need a new church!”
She means a new building altogether for the 80-member congregation of St. Paul Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church at 333 Crown Ave., in Dayton. The church has been around for 30 years, and has spent seven in this building.
The remnants of Hurricane Gordon that came through left its mark, Banner said.
“Those three days of steady rain, there was no let-up. A hole fell in the sanctuary and the choir couldn’t sing and it was leaking all over the place so we couldn’t have church,” she said.
Richard Cox, who serves as bishop for the church, said the building is irredeemable.
“It needs to be torn down,” he said.
He hopes the church can raise about $20,000 for a new building and get a loan to cover the rest.
As to whether the church leaders would consider joining with another small local church, Cox said they’d rather keep their church on its Crown Avenue site.
“If we built a new church on this site, the community would benefit and the church would grow. And grow beyond their 80 members. It might even grow to 200 members,” he said.
Church leaders say they’re embarking on this mission and praying they'll find a solution soon.