Friday, June 21, 2024

Second blow hits Pecan Grove Baptist

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Pecan Grove Baptist Church, located in rural Coryell County and built in 1929, has experienced numerous floods over the years from the raging waters of nearby Coryell Creek, and this year has been no exception. The 95-year-old structure was once again flooded during the evening hours of Saturday, May 5.

Heavy rain caused a historic rise in Coryell Creek, which flows next to the church, which often uses the usually tranquil creek for baptisms.

Following the tragic flooding on May 5, Pastor Jeff Huckeby said that it was quite a shock to see how much damage was done to the interior of the church.

At that time, Huckeby said, “We’re not sure how long the restoration of the church will take and when we can start using the building again, but we do have a large tabernacle we can use until then.” His hopes of using the tabernacle for worship services were to be short-lived.

“We talked about having services under the tabernacle, but realized it was still very muddy down there,” he said. Since restoration work on the building was progressing, it was decided that the congregation would hold services at the Oglesby Community Building until repair work was completed on the historic church.

Another blow came a few weeks later. Huckeby reported that since the May 5th flooding, Coryell Creek has come out of its banks at least twice, and that the ground surrounding the church was completely saturated.

Huckeby said that in the early morning hours of May 31, sometime between 3 and 3:30 a.m., a thunderstorm with high winds blew through the area and uprooted a large pecan tree on the grounds of the church. “It was the largest pecan tree on the church property, and it fell on and crushed one corner of our historic tabernacle,” he said.

Huckeby continued, “One cedar corner post, approximately 10 inches in diameter that was set in concrete, was driven approximately three feet into the ground after taking the brunt of the tree trunk as it fell. The huge branches crushed the entire south side of the tabernacle. Branches on the opposite side of the tree sheared off large branches on another large pecan tree next to it.”

Huckeby said that the century old tabernacle, which pre-dates the construction of the actual church, was built in the mid-to-late 1890’s.

Minute books of the church reference the tabernacle with other congregations as early as 1889, but the word “tabernacle” itself didn’t appear in the church minutes until 1890. The tabernacle served several congregations in the area, both Baptist and Methodist.

Huckeby reported that the church is now mostly dried out, and that they hope repair work to the structure will be completed in the next four to eight weeks. “The entire electrical system is being replaced, and once that is finished, the two heating and air conditioning systems have to be replaced, and the walls and floors will be repaired and repainted,” he said.

“Repairs to the historic tabernacle will have to wait until after we get the church repaired.”