Cross, steeple and bell tower returns to Alva United Methodist Church
On Thursday, Burt Bennett and all of the Alva United Methodist Church got their cross, steeple and bell tower back.
“People who weren’t even part of the church, “what’s happened to the cross, what’s happened to the cross?” Bennett said. “I don’t know whether naked is a good word or not, but it was definitely missing and we missed it.”
After these pieces of its sanctuary were damaged in Hurricane Irma, church members stopped to sign the cross that would be replaced. For many, it symbolizes priceless memories.
“We got married in this church,” David Bridgeman said, a church member.
They believe the sanctuary was built in 1903.
The chapel also suffered damages during Hurricane Irma, which terrorized Southwest Florida in 2017. Renovation work from the Category 3 hurricane is still being done.
They will write bible scriptures on the floor boards before it is newly carpeted and painted. Another symbol, according to its Church Trustee Jim Blyhte.
“Symbolism: that’s what it was, it’s all symbolism to start,” Blyhte said. “It means that we put it back where it belongs restored.”
As they watched the installation on Thursday, the pastor they also remembered all of the donations that made it possible.
“For a lot of people, it’s a sign of kind of a new old beginning,” Ralph Cotten said, the lead pastor of Alva United Methodist Church. “If that makes any sense, it’s like we can breathe now. We can celebrate now, like part of us was missing and we’re so glad to have it back.”