This winter's snowfall has wreaked havoc on roofs across the region.
Last Monday (Feb. 7), the roof of Hillview Community Church's fellowship hall at 7382 O'Brien Road collapsed under the incredible weight. The damage was so great the insurance adjuster declared the congregation's original church building a total loss.
"Emotions were high and many members were deeply hurt when they heard that the fellowship hall had collapsed," said Pastor Joe Folckemer. "The fellowship hall was the original sanctuary building and over the years has been home to many weddings and funerals as well as church fellowship dinners, wedding receptions, anniversaries, American Baptist Men and other regional meetings. The Hillview Coffeehouse, which is one of our main sources of support for the Baldwinsville Food Pantry, has been held in Fellowship Hall for many years."
On behalf of the congregation, Folckemer thanked the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, Town of Van Buren Code Enforcement officer, members of the responding fire departments, National Grid and OCWA for their quick response.
"They all were very helpful in those first few hours after the damage had been discovered," he said.
While Hillview's main sanctuary was not damaged, the building that was lost was home to the congregation's only kitchen and banquet hall, where many events were held. Depending on the insurance coverage, Folckemer said the long-term plan is to add those facilities to the main church building, in addition to constructing a possible pavilion for outdoor concerts and Coffeehouses, as well as other functions.
"This Fall, Hillview Community Church will celebrate our 50th anniversary and we trust that God will bring us through this trial as a much stronger and more cohesive congregation that is ready to set the direction for the next 50 years of fruitful ministry," Folckemer said.
Either way, the congregation doesn't plan to "skip a beat."
"Even though this building holds many great memories, not just for members of the congregation, but also for people from the community that have attended some of the many events held there, Hillview remains strong and committed to maintaining our current level of ministry," Folckemer said. "For now we will just be a little crowded."
A recovery fund has been established at the church for donations relating to the loss of the building. For more information, call 638-0357.