Sandy is on the minds of many this weekend, but it's bad weather from more than a year ago that's still affecting one Onondaga County congregation. Heavy snow caused the roof of the First Baptist Church of Memphis to collapse last February. Parishioners have been working to rebuild for the past six months. Our Sarah Blazonis shows us how workers are picking up the pace ahead of this week's storm.
CAMILLUS, N.Y. -- The first time Rusty Lippert helped out with construction at his church was 30 years ago. He worked on the section of the First Baptist Church of Memphis that collapsed last year.
"We got the news shortly after, and my wife and I and kids went over to see what was going on. It was just unbelievable," said Lippert, whose family has attended the church for three generations.
Now church members are once again picking up tools and lending a hand ahead of another storm: Sandy. The goal is to complete as much of the outside of the building as possible before rough weather hits.
Pastor Art George said those who work full-time stop by on weekends to help out. Some retirees are here almost everyday. Together, they've helped new classrooms, an auditorium and a basketball court take shape.
"That's one of the neatest parts of our ministry is being able to see the church come together for a common project, and it saves the church a lot of money as well," said Brent Howard, a missionary with Church Care Construction and the project manager.
The new facility is going to be about 20,000 square-feet, which is bigger than the congregation's current building. Pastor George said he hopes the bigger size, plus the new location, will help expand the church's reach.
"We're really excited that here on Route 5, it's much more visible, easier access. We're really hoping to see substantial growth once we move," said Pastor George.
Construction is expected to wrap up in about a year, but the group says their efforts are proof that it's the people, not the building, that make a church.