It may be some time before worship services return to a small church in Margaretta that was nearly demolished when it was hit by a van on Thanksgiving Day.
The married co-pastors of the Enlightened Church of God Tabernacle returned to the scene off CR 139 west of Glen St. Mary to reassess the damage to the predominantly east side of the structure, a converted residence, which serves as a worship center for a small congregation of ten, the oldest of which is 94 years old.
“We are expecting an adjuster and will see where we go from there,” said Pastor Joshua Daniels, who visited the scene earlier this week with his wife Chiquitta Daniels from their home in Gainesville. “We may have to rebuild everything. “
He added that the original structure and addition are insured, but the initial claim will go against the insurer of the driver of a 2011 Ford pickup truck who veered north 139 at the start of this vacation afternoon and plowed in the building.
The driver was identified in a Florida Highway Patrol report as Nicholas Lee, 21, of Macclenny. The report states that he was not suspected of drug or alcohol use and that he was charged with driving the vehicle recklessly or negligently and failing to drive in one lane.
The owner of the property was listed as Richard Williams of Davis Rd.
It is also on hold at this time when the church will resume its food ministry by distributing Farm Share products and feeding Northeast Florida.
Ms Daniels said the ministry was popular in low-income neighborhoods in and around Margaretta, between Glen and Sanderson. On Thanksgiving week, for example, 73 vehicles lined up 139 for pending food donations.
“We’ll just have to see,” the co-pastor said on the future of this ministry.
As of this week, the congregation has not met elsewhere and pastors have also indicated that they do not know when services will resume.
They plan to set up a donation fund at Tru-Fi Credit Union in Macclenny to help with the rebuilding effort.