Duke gives church a new roof

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 29, 2004

FRANKLIN FURNACE - Ohio Baptist Church got a facelift Monday, compliments of some neighbors just down the street.

Nine volunteers from Duke Energy spent the day replacing the roof on the back part of the building. They also cleared brush from the grounds and hauled away the debris.

"This is a real blessing,"

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said the Rev. Dan Rapp, pastor of the church.

And, a blessing that was undoubtedly heaven-sent. Rapp said the church's insurance carrier sent a letter six weeks ago urging that the roof be replaced or repaired. If it was not, the insurance coverage could have been canceled. Rapp said the roof over the main part of the church was repaired. Then came the Duke volunteers to fix the rest of it.

"We didn't expect this," Rapp said. "This is awe-inspiring. We've probably saved $1,500."

"We've been needing help with the church," said Jean Butler, clerk of the church. "There is so much to do and we've been praying and hoping and they offered to do it. It's very encouraging."

The work at the church is part of Duke's community service effort. Duke volunteers also did work at the Chesapeake Community Center last week. Administrative assistant Angela Walters, who even brought her 8-year-old daughter, Kennedy, to help, said the church was a logical choice for the company's volunteer effort.

"With it being so close to the plant, we drive by every day and we see it needs help," Walters said.

"We've been told most of the members are in their 60s or older. We felt like this was a nice way for us to give back to the community."

The new roof will be on display later this year when church members celebrate Ohio Baptist's 200th birthday. It is the oldest church in continuous service in the state of Ohio.