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Historic Louisa church saved from demolition

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – At Gilboa Christian Church in Mineral you’ll find a happy Beverly Sims cleaning glass.

“Do you know I actually like washing windows. They’ve always been here. They’re very special to every member of this church.”

Beverly Sims doesn’t mind doing windows especially the large windows she is cleaning. Beverly never thought she’d look through them again.

She asks, “What is so special? You look out that window and you see God’s earth.”

She’s been worshiping at Gilboa Christian Church for 54 years. Her church sits in Mineral about a mile from the epicenter of last Augusts quake. The structure suffered devastating damage during that fateful day.

Church member Christian Goodwin says, “I Just walked in and saw destruction.”

The powerful quake shook the church to its core. Walls crumbled, bricks fell and markers in the graveyard broke apart.

Beverly says, “It looked like the back wall had fallen in.”

Gilboa was nearly condemned, but a decision was made shortly after the quake to save the building. Saving Gilboa cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It was sad and shock,” says church member Dudley Delbridge. “I don’t think anyone thought we were going to be back in business so soon.”

The congregation raised money through bake sales, loans and donations. Even complete strangers from Virginia and beyond who heard about the congregation’s plight would hand deliver checks and donations to help rebuild the historic church.”

Goodwin, whose family has been worshiping here for five generations says, “The generosity that people show in the face of need never ceases to amaze me.”

Eight months removed from the quake the earth still moves in the form of aftershocks. But Gilboa’s reinforced structure is not budging.

Goodwin says, “It puts a lump in my throat every time I walk in here.”

This weekend members will worship together on the 98th anniversary of Country Church Day.

Goodwin says, “Could we have lived without it? Absolutely. Are we blessed to have it? Without question.”

In the face of disaster a congregation’s spirit did not break. Just like Beverly’s favorite windows.

“We are a close church but we are a really close church now,” says Beverly. “I don’t like ironing but I love washing windows. When they’re windows like this? Yes.”

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