‘We are scared’: Downtown Roanoke church asking for community’s help to fund extensive repairs

Greene Memorial United Methodist Church in need of $1.2 million worth of repairs

ROANOKE, Va. – The future of an iconic church in downtown Roanoke is in question after extensive damage.

Members of Greene Memorial United Methodist Church are now taking their desperate plea public.

Last September, Debbie Brown, the church’s director of programs and outreach ministries, said they discovered extensive water damage to the sanctuary and other parts of the historic building.

In the spring, crews specializing in historic restoration began working inside the church.

"Mainly it's getting water out of the walls and away from the building," said Collin Waters, president of Waters Craftsman.

The work has come with its fair share of costs.

"Everything had to be stripped out of here. Bibles, hymnals, everything had to go out," Brown said. "We've had to cancel to some weddings."

Pews are still empty today in a sanctuary that hasn't seen a service all year, but it's the financial costs that are threatening Greene Memorial's future.

The project was expected to cost $800,000, but now it’s looking like $1.2 million. Further work is on hold until the church can raise the money.

"We are scared. We know our funding is very limited and it's breaking our heart," Brown said.

Brown said they’ve been forced to cut personnel and scale back the community outreach that's the pride of Greene Memorial.

Now, they’re turning the tables, asking the community to help them.

"If you can reach in your pockets and give a helping hand, we will be the ones to go out into the community and make a difference," Brown said.

The church has set up a GoFundMe to try to raise the remaining $300,000.

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