Local church stalled in rebuilding process

Local News

After Hurricane Michael tore the roof off of Springfield Baptist Church and left it with damages too expensive to repair, the church has found itself in a waiting game for approval to move forward.

Virgil Tillman, the pastor of Springfield Baptist at the time of the hurricane said FEMA awarded the church a fixed offer of around 4.2 million, 3.1 million after they took their 25 percent.

But the issue Tillman has is the FEMA money goes through the state of Florida.

“The conflict we are having is that Florida is holding 25 percent out as well. And they will only reimburse us 75 percent” said Tillman.

He explained that the church is low on cash as it is, so multiple cuts being taken greatly affect them.

“That’s our struggle right now. Again with the cash flow problem. That’s very difficult for a church our size,” Tillman said.

Tillman said the next step is to find a bank willing to give them a loan on the property.

The plan is to demolish what’s left and rebuild.

“We have an idea of what we want to build,” said Tillman. “It’ll be much smaller than what we have here. It’s over about 25,000 square feet. We don’t need that much space. We’ll build smaller right here on the same property. Not the same footprint but the same lot here and we look forward to that day. We are anxious to get back in”

Since the hurricane, the congregation has been meeting at Immanuel Baptist Church in Panama City and will continue to do so until their new structure is able to be completed.

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