After roof collapse, First Baptist Church of Memphis begins rebuilding process in Camillus

— By the end of 2013, the First Baptist Church of Memphis is expected to be moved to Route 5 in Camillus.

The church is rebuilding after a roof collapse at their current location, on Bennetts Corners Road, in February 2011. Since then, they’ve been holding worship and classes in a second building on their property.

Sunday morning, the church congregation filed onto the new property, nestled near the town line between Elbridge and Camillus. The congregation held the service at the new property, which is now nothing more than a corn field. By the end of 2013, it will be a sprawling church building situated on 10 acres of property and over-looking the natural beauty of Marcellus, Camillus and Elbridge.

The 18,000 square-foot building with a new auditorium, gymnasium, offices and worship auditorium was funded through donations and an insurance settlement from February’s havoc.

Missionary builders will be coming to Camillus to do the work on the new church complex.

What started as a small crack one day, turned into a full collapse the next, pastor Art George said. A church parishioner noticed the sheetrock from the ceiling falling, like snow, in the auditorium. Within a half-hour, the weight from the snow had crippled the building, collapsing the Sunday school classrooms and worship auditoriums. The congregation has been meeting in the old church building next door since the collapse. But George said the church’s building isn’t what matters.

“This is not the church,” he said, gesturing toward the buildings. “The people are the church. Did we lose a building? Yes. Did we lose the church? No. The church is just fine.”

While the church is no longer in Memphis, a hamlet near the town of Camillus and Van Buren line, they will be keeping the church name.

“The church is the people,” George said. “It’s a different building, different location, but it’s still the same people, the same church family.”

The new church will be about a five-minute drive from the current location.

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