NORTH NAPLES, Fla - The verdict is in and the fate of a North Naples Church is uncertain. After a week long trial, a jury agreed with State Farm Insurance that it was not a sinkhole that forced Faith Community Church off Immokalee Road to close.
Pastor Roy Shuck says fixing the damage inside the church will cost at least $300,000 and unless they receive a generous gift, selling the building may be their only option.
For more than year, Faith Community Church has sat on unstable ground. County leaders deemed the building unsafe, closing down the daycare and forcing the congregation to meet elsewhere.
Geologists determined it was a sink hole, but State Farm denied the insurance claim. They argued organic materials were buried under the church and a jury sided with State Farm.
"It was like someone kicked you in the gut," says Pastor Roy Shuck. It was very difficult because we had good evidence of sink hole, we had good witnesses. State Farm obviously had the very best of everything."
Walking through the church last year Pastor Roy Shuck points out cracks in the walls and uneven floors. Now, he and parishioners have to figure out whether fixing the damage is an option and what's next for the church.
"There's a lot of shock, a lot of tears," says John Danby. "But, also you can hear resolution, we're not done."
"I don't think it's the end of the church itself, the congregation is not the building," says Pastor Roy.
Pastor Roy says there is a silver lining. He says because the insurance company won, there legally isn't a sinkhole. "That's maybe a good thing that we don't have that hanging over our head now."
Church leaders are meeting Tuesday evening to discuss what to do. In the meantime they will continue to hold their services at the Community School of Naples.