‘Oh my gosh’: Church ceiling collapses in Richmond’s West End

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The ceiling of a sanctuary in a Baptist church in Richmond’s West End collapsed Wednesday afternoon.

The pastor of the Derbyshire Baptist Church Dr. Jeff Raymond told 8News the music minister heard a rumbling sound around 1:40 p.m. and a crash while he was in his office.

“Oh my gosh,” Dr. Raymond said. “This is a sacred place where people have heartfelt memories from marriages to funerals to baptisms and all of a sudden it’s in disarray.”

The Derbyshire Baptist Church built the Copeland Sanctuary in 1976 and recently upgraded the pews and organ. The sanctuary can seat 700 people. Aside from the collapsed ceiling, it has no issues structurally.

“Saw this thick fog where you couldn’t see from one end of the sanctuary to the other,” Dr. Jeff Raymond said. “Dust just flying. The ceiling had just fallen.”

The insurance company told the church not to clean up until they have investigated. The investigation will be taking place this week.

Dr. Raymond said the collapse has left minds racing with questions, “What do we do now? Where do we start?”

“We’re finding support from our community. From our church family,” Dr. Raymond said. “We’ve had numerous phone calls, Facebook messages.”

The church was supposed to hold an organ dedication July 14th. That is now on hold until possibly 2020. 

“Be patient. There’s a sense of hey we’re not the ones in control here,” Dr. Raymond said. “Sometimes our schedules and our agendas we have to put aside and be fluid in how we deal with life coming at us. And trusting God’s the one who’s in control. And he’s the one who’s leading. 

The church plans to have the sanctuary open by December for the Christmas program.  Dr. Raymond thinks it may cost $1 million in total. 

For now, the church is meeting in their old chapel.

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