Congregants of the Spotlight Deliverance Temple Church in Bristol, Pa. are entering the new year hoping for a miracle.
Spotlight is housed in a 163-year-old building, a historical site that was once a place of reverance.
When more than 70 percent of the church's ceiling and framework caved in on the sanctuary in September, much of the building's historical beauty -- its stained glass windows, chandeliers, and wooden pews -- was damaged or destroyed.
The unexpected collapse forced Spotlight to move its congregants and its worship services from their spacious church home to a cramped room at a nearby hotel.
Spotlight's Executive Administrator Janie Stephens said the move was quite an adjustment for the church's near 200 members.
"In the beginning it was really hard getting used to because you go from this huge building to this room that holds less than 100 people. That's really difficult," Stephens said.
According to Stephens, members of the church administration had noticed a bend in one of the support beams a week before the collapse occurred and they immediately called contractors to evaluate the building. But before they were able to do an assessment, on Sept. 25, the majority of the ceiling collapsed.
Contractors estimate the damages will cost $100,000 to repair.
While the church reportedly pays $12,000 per year in insurance for the building, the insurance company, United National Insurance has refused to cover any of the repairs because they say the collapse was not a "covered peril."
"As you can imagine, we are devasted by the news," Spotlight trustee board member Janice Washington said.
The church started a fundraiser shortly after the collapse in September. Through generous donations from local partner churches they managed to raise $23,600. This allowed them to hire contractors to secure the remaining parts of the roof and begin removing debris from the building. But church trustee board chairman Vincent Washington says the church is a long way from being fully restored. Simply put, he said, they need a miracle.
"At this point it would be a miracle if somebody, a philanthropist or an organization, would give the rest to us, that would be a miracle from god," he said.
"For us to just keep trying to raise the funds on our own, it could take a couple years for us to raise that kind of money."
Stephens says the church has also applied for several grants on the basis of its building being a historical site and will continue reaching out for donations through its web site www.spotlightdeliverance.com/donate.