By anguillian February 5, 2018 11:22



Just when it appeared that it was taking a long time to see some action in rebuilding or repairing three Methodist Churches in Anguilla, damaged by Hurricane Irma, on September 6, 2017, there has been some movement at Ebenezer Chapel in The Valley.

Tuesday, January 30, 2017, saw the first truck, carrying construction steel, offloading at the historic church building. The Rev. Dr. Wycherley Gumbs, Superintendent of the Anguilla Methodist Circuit, was on hand to pray over the steel and was joined by a number of other persons including Methodist Churchman and Ebenezer Member, Mr. Kenn Banks; and President of the Rotary Club of Anguilla, Mrs. Jackie Ruan, through whose organisation the funds, amounting to some US$100,000, were channelled by an anonymous donor.

Rev. Dr. Gumbs, spoke to The Anguillian about the event,“We are beginning the process of getting Ebenezer going. The first supply of steel has come and other material is coming shortly from overseas. So by the middle of February we should be well on our way to getting the work in progress with people seeing something happening. We are waiting expectantly, hoping that all will go well.”

The Superintendent Minister continued: “The funds come from a family who likes Anguilla and of course this historic building and its congregation. The names are anonymous but the Rotary Club of Anguilla is the agency handling the funds as the conduit. We thank the donors and the Rotarians. Our builders and theirs will be part of the building as well.”

Mr. Banks, a Civil Engineer, was asked about retaining some of the historical aspects of the church, originally built by slaves. “We are trying to retain the shape and as much of the original stonework as we can,” he responded. “The stonework will be covered over because we will be creating a structure on the outside of the building for the roof as the walls, as they are, cannot take the roof. We will, however, retain the front of the building, the tall belfry and, as I said, the shape of the building. Of course, inside will not be touched. We will try to retain the inside with the roofing structure we had in the original building.”

Jackie, the Rotary President, said the Rotary Club was very fortunate to be used as a channel for the donation from the anonymous donor, who has a home in Anguilla and who loves churches. “We know that many churches have suffered damage from Irma, but Ebenezer is a national monument. It is the lifeblood of Anguilla. How can we possibly let this place fall into disrepair? We honour this place of many births, deaths, marriages and baptisms. It is a very, very special place and we have to look after this 200-year-old church building and make sure that it is back in operation and allowing people to go there and worship once again in the manner they are accustomed to. The parishioners have been very patient. This is a very special day for us. We just have to get the work done. A hundred thousand dollars sounds like a lot but we didn’t get it all. We got 95 or 96 thousand so we have to find the last bit.”

Mr. Banks explained that an estimated cost was being awaited from the contractor who is yet to be selected.

Meanwhile, the other hurricane-damaged Methodist Church buildings are Bethel, another historic edifice at South Hill which lost the western portion of its roof, which is expected to be replaced later on; and Immanuel at West End. Plans are in hand to replace Immanuel with a new church building as was decided on prior to the hurricane. Its nearby church hall was badly-damaged, particularly the roof, and consideration is also being given to its replacement as well.

By anguillian February 5, 2018 11:22


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