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Pastor Of Wind-Damaged Huntington Church Remains Optimistic

Reported: Feb. 21, 2014 4:03 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 21, 2014 6:31 PM EST

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- When Reverend Jerry Chapman's phone rang at 1:30 this morning, he knew it couldn't be good. "I got a call that the roof had blown off so I got up and came down here," he said.

The damage he saw when he pulled up to his church, Open Door Baptist Church, was devastating. "It was a mess," he said.

Strong winds ripped off the roof, toppled the steeple and flooded parts of the building. It would take a miracle to clean up the mess, but then again this is the perfect place for one to happen.
"There's just not that much damage in the sanctuary," said Chapman.

Rev. Chapman says if they can get power restored by tomorrow night, church members could be in the pews by Sunday. "We're sure planning on having services Sunday morning!" he said.

If that doesn't work, they still have options. Rev. Chapman said about six local churches and Reger Funeral home have offered up places to worship. "My phone has rang constantly, so we're getting a lot of support and help," he said.

Classic Construction has been at the church much of the day, clearing debris and working to help the Open Door Baptist Church reopen their doors as soon as possible. Chapman said, "We're just so happy that we got people taking care of it and they're repairing it very quickly."

Even in all the chaos and devastation, the pastor says one thing remains in tact-- and that's his faith. "We just have to take it a day at a time. Things happen that we have no control. You know, I'm just thankful that it's not worse than it was."

Chapman said the damages should be covered by insurance. It may take several month to completely rebuild. Part of W. 19th Street will remain closed the next couple days while construction crews continue to clear debris.

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