Deadly mold discovered at FBC Winona parsonage
Experts say it must be burned down
By Barbara Shoun
April 5, 2005
WINONA — A deadly white mold has taken over the parsonage at First Baptist Church, Winona, and they’re going to have to burn it down.
The problem has presented a major hurdle for this small congregation in south central Missouri which has recently begun a new life. The church was averaging seven or eight in attendance last year and made the choice to grow rather than to die. It joined the Howell Baptist Association in the fall and called Tim Ford as its pastor in December. Recent attendance has been averaging about 30. Ford is to be ordained in May.
The new pastor and his family moved into the parsonage in December. The association helped install a new metal roof on the 40-year-old house, and the church was planning to add siding, central heat and central air conditioning to help get rid of a moisture problem. When they had the house checked underneath, they discovered structural damage caused by up to an inch of white mold.
“The insurance company said: ‘Get those people out of the house,’” Ford said. The house will have to be burned because “there’s not a cure for that much mold. It’s already too late.”
The Fords boxed up their belongings again and moved into an apartment. The church considered getting a loan to buy a mobile home for use as a parsonage, but Bob Wood, director of missions for Howell Baptist Association, encouraged them to think long-term.
He is trying to find groups that can help with the construction of a new parsonage and is encouraging Baptists throughout the state to become involved in the project.
“We want the church to know that the association and the state are behind them,” Wood said. “They’ve got such potential. I want them to really do well. If they can get the material, we can probably come up with enough builders to build it back.”
Ford says Wood has found a group in Colorado that is interested in helping, and he understands there is a similar group in Missouri.
“We’ve stopped everything and decided this may be the way we have to go,” says Ford. “We’re in prayer and trying to connect with people who are willing to help. One church in our association has already sent a $1,000 check. Right now, the need is for finances. Later, we’ll need people who will actually help build the house.”
In the meantime, church members are trying to salvage the new metal roof, the water heater, and anything else not affected by the mold. The rest will be burned.
While this has been a blow for the church, it hasn’t been a defeat.
“Things are going well,” Ford said. “Amidst all of this mess, things are going great spiritually.”
Anyone interested in becoming involved with the project may contact the church at Rt. 1, Box 1018, Winona, Mo. 65588 or phone 573-325-4481 or 573-325-1230.