New Hope Missionary Baptist Church’s once rusted and gaping hole-ridden roof should no longer leak.
“We actually got the project done faster than I expected,” said Ramona Greer, founder of Friends of New Hope.
Work to fix the long-neglected roof damaged by time and natural elements including wind, which blew portions of the tin off, began and finished the last week in July.
Greer said the initial contractor’s response time and exorbitant cost at three times the budgeted amount led her to seek the help of Lolly Rash, executive director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust. Rash found a contractor, Chris Patrick, of Southern Seamless and Metal Roofing, who agreed to do the job within budget and in a much quicker time frame.
“He took a look at the church and he instantly jumped on it,” Greer said, noting Patrick’s soft spot for historical buildings and churches. “The fact that he got it done in a week is crazy to me.”
As an added bonus, Patrick volunteered to help clean the church’s interior of debris that had fallen and remove the collapsed drop down ceiling.
“It is so clean,” Greer said. “We can actually see the floor. We have a few holes in the floor but for everything to be as intact as it is, I was just amazed by it.”
The 101-year-old old church with hints of Gothic Revival sits on the banks of Deer Creek in Estill near Hollandale. Greer took an interest in saving the church a few years ago after becoming interested in genealogy and the generations of her family who attended the church, many of which are buried in the church’s graveyard.
In order to achieve that reality, Greer knew she needed help so she reached out to the Mississippi Heritage Trust. The organization’s eagerness to help led the church to be named one of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in the state. The organization also applied for a $24,500 grant from the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and was awarded one in 2018 on Greer’s behalf to replace the roof, secure and store church pews and furnishings, and engage the congregation and community in a long-term plan for the church.
With the roof now complete, the next phase of the project will include identifying and clearing the overgrown areas including graves dating back to the 19th century as well as securing the foundation and flooring. To aid in the effort, a local business has already volunteered to help clear the overgrowth sometime in the fall.
Other upcoming plans include hosting a fundraiser, which Greer hopes to have later this year to find the church’s restoration.
To learn more, visit Friends of New Hope on Facebook and call 662-807-1027 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.