Historic church damaged by falling tree

A large poplar tree caused damage to Reynolds Chapel Church in Vanceburg last week.

The historic Reynolds Chapel Church building at Black Oak was extensively damaged Thursday night when a large tree fell across the back of the structure.

Pastor Tim Anderson said the large poplar tree had split earlier with part of it falling in the cemetery, causing damage to a vault and some headstones.

Anderson and church members were busy Friday removing items from the building away from the damaged area and making temporary repairs to keep further damage from occurring.

A large tarpaulin was placed over the damaged area and volunteers worked over the weekend removing portions of the fallen tree from the cemetery and structure.

The church building was constructed in 1872 on land donated by the Adams family. A small fenced area near the church building contains the graves of family members.

Anderson, who has pastored the church for about 14 years, said the church has four active members.

Damage is evident to this portion of the church building. Pastor Tim Anderson, pictured, and church members worked to make temporary repairs.

“Those members will be attending Garrison United Methodist Church until we can get repairs made here,” Anderson said.

He has led an early service every Sunday morning at Reynolds Chapel and a later Sunday morning service at Garrison United Methodist Church. The congregations will be combined for the time being.

While most of the visible damage to the building is at the rear of the structure, the building was moved on its foundation and the west wall is bowed in. There are new cracks visible inside the sanctuary.

Anderson said the portion of the tree that damaged the building fell about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, after a brief storm moved through the area.

“The rain was over and I received a telephone call telling me the tree had fallen on the church building,” Anderson said.

He said the tree was likely damaged from the earlier split when a portion fell in the cemetery and may have been weakened further in subsequent storms, finally giving away and crashing into the structure.

Anderson and his wife Ginger were assisting the parishioners to carry out items and move pews away from the damaged areas on Friday.

Damage is evident on the back of the church building.

He hadn’t received an estimate for the repairs and tree removal, and added that funds are limited. The building is insured but won’t cover all the associated costs of repairing the structure.

Anyone who would like to help by contributing or volunteering should call Tim Anderson 606-541-0019. Checks may be mailed to Reynolds Chapel Church, PO Box 315, Vanceburg, KY  41179.

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