Belleville church still struggling with storm damage

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The church’s gable roof blew off and scattered throughout the neighborhood.

BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Buckets caught dripping water and a piece of tarp covered a hole in the ceiling of Faith Baptist Church in Belleville, Ill., on Sunday.

The Main Street Church was one of many structures in the path of a tornado in May.

Pastor Rick Koonce walked 5 On Your Side through the worst damage to the church office and educational building.

Winds and heavy rain from the storm swept away the church’s gabled roof.

“Immediately after the storm, it was all cleaned up, but there’s still debris all over the floor because the water kept coming into the building,” Koonce said.

The building struggled to bring in water whenever there was a weather event.

The church pantry, which provides food to around 250 families a month, was also hit.

The initiative is still active but may need to make some adjustments

One of their buses lost a ceiling.

“We’re going to have to take another bus to continue running our bus ministry. We’re going to pick up kids from all over the community and bring them to church. Those who otherwise couldn’t come,” Koonce added.

The community has come together to help clean up for the past few weeks.

A few doors down, the congregation was still worshiping in the sanctuary, which suffered no damage on Sunday.

Koonce’s teaching was about “zeal” and staying cheerful no matter what one might face.

“Even in tragedies and trials there is hope,” he added.

The church must wait for certain insurance offers.

Some items needed for repairs are taking a little longer due to delays and shortages caused by the pandemic.

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