Winter Storm Response: Q&A with Church Architecture

by Keith Crouch on February 24, 2021 in News

The winter storms that hit Texas on Feb. 14-20 have left many churches and ministries with damage to their buildings and facilities. Keith Crouch with Texas Baptists Church Architecture has answered some of the most commonly asked questions that many churches have below.

The following information is general in nature and not intended to replace your source of legal advice.

What should I do if my facility is damaged?

  1. First, try to mitigate and stop further damage by shutting off water supply. Also, be aware of the need to shut off power first in unsafe water conditions.
  2. Document, document, document. Take “before and after” photos of all conditions.

How do I work with my insurance company, and what if the damage is not covered?

  1. Contact your insurance company, agent or adjuster immediately to notify them of status.
  2. Start a written journal to document dates, times and all contacts you talked with and their instructions. You will need these notes later.
  3. Emails are good for time stamping when you have notified your contacts and for record of their instructions. Document, document, document.

If your church facilities damages are not covered by your insurance policy the following may be helpful resources:

  1. As donation funds are available, Texas Baptists Church Architecture may have access to Church Building Recovery Grants.
  2. Small Church Matching Grants and Small Church Loans, as funds allow, may be available through Texas Baptists Church Architecture at (214) 828-5135 or (888) 244-9400.
  3. Baptist Church Loan Corporation is an option for mortgage loans.
  4. Oldham Church Foundation, Houston, has construction grants available at times.

Can Texas Baptists help with clean up and repairs?

  1. Church to Church partnerships are sometimes available for volunteer labor for church building restoration.
  2. There are certain general contractors who specialize in cleanup and restoration services for church building recovery.
  3. The goal of your insurance coverage is to restore your church buildings to prior condition before the water damage. So if you take this as an opportunity to upgrade and remodel your church building, it usually costs more than your insurance coverage.
  4. It is a common mistake to cover up wet/damp wood framing with new sheetrock too soon. It can take weeks to dry. A moisture meter can be helpful in determining if interior wood has dried enough to cover up. There are government websites that address how to properly disinfect wood framing and other areas before they are covered up with final sheetrock and floor coverings.
  5. If you do not want to restore your building, now may be the time to plan a different building. Texas Baptists Church Architecture can assist with a planning consultation to determine options.
  6. If you have any questions, please email architecture[at]texasbaptists.org or karen.young[at]texasbaptists.org or call (214) 828-5135 Texas Baptists Church Architecture.

What if a pastor’s home sustained damage?

  1. Texas Baptist Men (214) 275-1100 is the resource for labor help for residential buildings.
  2. Church to Church partnerships are sometimes available for volunteer labor for church building restoration.
  3. You can seek connection with other volunteer groups by contacting the Texas Baptists Church Architecture office at (214) 828-5135 or (888) 244-9400.

How do we worship until repairs are made?

  1. First, do not try to hold assembly meetings in a worship center that is damaged or under repair. This invites liability and safety issues.
  2. Alternative worship options may be other large spaces on your church campus such as a fellowship hall, chapel or off-site at other assembly meeting spaces available.
  3. Church facilities sharing can be an option under the appropriate conditions. A church sharing its space with another congregation on a temporary basis. It is suggested that if another congregation is temporarily going to share your facilities or vice-versa, it may be good to have a brief written agreement of parameters and responsibilities. Be sure your insurance carrier is aware of this type of arrangement as it could affect your property and casualty insurance policy.
  4. Church Realty, Dallas, churchrealty.com has a sign-up opportunity for Churches Helping Churches. Church facilities sharing is an option for alternative meeting space.

If you have questions about damage sustained to your church or would like to know more about how the Church Architecture team can benefit your church, please reach out to (214) 828-5135 or (888) 244-9400 or by email at karen.young[at]texasbaptists.org.

Read more articles in: News, Faith, 2021 Winter Storm

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