FOSTER, Ky. — The Salem Ridge Wesleyan Church in Bracken County is one of several buildings in the area that was destroyed after Wednesday night’s powerful storms. It’s just one more thing the church has had to deal with in the wake of the coronavirus.
“This Easter we talked about doing live-streaming on Facebook. Then, well – this happened.”
But Pastor Jonathan Rogers sees the damage to the 100-year-old building as a blessing.
“We have worked so hard on this church,” Rogers said. “In the 10 years I’ve been here, we’ve had incredible things happen.”
For the last decade, Rogers poured his heart into the Brooksville, Kentucky church from one project to the next.
“God told me it’s time to put a bathroom in,” Rogers said.
They poured new concrete outside and almost had an explosive situation inside when they needed to replace the furnace.
“It just went up, 'poof,'” Rogers said. “Fire is coming up like this. I’m like, 'what?' I prayed quickly, 'Lord, please protect me.' And I reached into the flames. I got the control turned off. The fire off. Thank God nothing blew up.”
Wednesday night, his phone was blowing up.
“(We) got a phone call waking us up in the middle of the night,” Rogers said.
Winds shifted the church off its foundation, and the roof caved in.
“To me, what I see going on here --this isn’t salvageable,” Rogers said. “It’s unstable and unsafe. We’re looking to build a new church”
The congregation hasn’t met for several weeks due to COVID-19 as the state orders people to avoid mass gatherings.
“Now all the roof is gone there, and everything,” Rogers said. “God knows what he’s doing.”
While some might see the destruction as devastating, Pastor Rogers sees it as an opportunity.
“We’re looking to build a new church,” Rogers said. “We’ve been praying for God to build a new church for a long long long time.”
The existing building is more than 100 years old.
“The church was partially blown away,” Rogers said. “We’re looking for a resurrection ourselves here, with this church building.”
And of course, Resurrection is what Easter is all about.
People interested in helping the church with their rebuilding efforts can send a check made payable to Salem Ridge Wesleyan to 8682 Mason Lewis Road, Maysville, Ky 41056.