STONE BLUFF — When Pastor Chester Goins arrived to open the Church of God’s Love one Sunday morning in 2018, he made his usual check of the basement.
The cellar was prone to flooding but this time a rainstorm had caused a wall to collapse, inundating the Sunday school classroom. The water was already up to the first set of steps.
“Everything was just damaged, destroyed,” said Linda Goins, who pastors the church with her husband.
The ordeal has not stopped the tiny congregation from worshiping in the historic sanctuary upstairs, but there still is not enough money to permanently repair the wall. A donation fund has been established through The Fountain Trust Company.
“We all love the Lord here and we want to stay together,” Goins said.
The couple started the church in 2006 and held services inside the Ben Franklin Store building in Veedersburg. A year later, the congregation relocated to the Osborn Prairie Christian Church building outside Stone Bluff.
About a dozen people regularly attend the church, which was starting to grow when the wall collapsed.
The congregation had used their own funds to repair the basement after previous floods, but nonprofit preservation group Indiana Landmarks gave the money to hire a structural engineer.
“It’s a historic building and there have been so many historic buildings that have disappeared from the Fountain County area, and we’d love to preserve this,” said the Goins’ son, Paul.
The engineer told the family they could still use the sanctuary so long as the Bible stand was moved from the platform in front of the pews.
“If we had a church full
presently, we wouldn’t be able to have service until work was done in the basement,” Linda Goins said.
The congregation will have to temporarily move out of the building when repairs on the basement get underway. Members plan to gather in each other’s homes.
“We’ve got to hold on,” Linda Goins said, “the trumpet is about to sound. The good Lord could come at any moment.”