Rain Damage Shuts Sagamore Church

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By: Diana T. Barth
Published: 09/22/11

Rain has damaged the entire first floor of the century-old Swift Memorial United Methodist Church on Williston Road in Sagamore Beach.

Because of the extent of the damage, the congregation will meet at its Swift Activity Center, located near the church at 82 Old Plymouth Road, until further notice.

The stone church, built just after the turn of the 20th century, was in the midst of a roof replacement when tropical storm Irene hit. That windy storm caused no immediately visible damage.

The following week, however, brought winds and heavy rains. Pastor Brian M. Wood said it was still unclear how the damage started, but the water ruined ceilings, damaged and even cracked wooden pews, soaked cushions, saturated rugs, and destroyed electronics in the church office.

The church’s organ alone suffered $4,000 in damage, he said. Some damage, he has been told by experts, may not have shown up yet. The piano, for example, appears to have minor damage, but problems may yet show up when the wood is fully dry. Some beautiful inlay is separating and warping as it dries.

Pastor Wood said the church secretary discovered the damage when she arrived for work on Tuesday, September 6. She heard running water and went into the sanctuary to discover the cause. She then quickly sounded the alarm, Pastor Wood said, and everyone responded.

The local Serv-Pro came quickly and hauled out soggy carpets and other materials. Wet plaster was removed, and actions were taken to prevent further damage, as the rains continued throughout that week.
The pastor estimated that it will take several months to repair the damage, and he suspects that the church will have to hire a general contractor.

The good news, he said, is that no one was hurt. Further, the church is fully insured and the contractor is fully insured.

Donald E. (Jerry) Ellis, chairman of the Bourne Historical Commission, updated members of the historical commission on the damage on Tuesday, as part of an update on community preservation act projects given to fellow board members. The Swift Memorial slate roof work is being performed with the aid of $125,000 in Community Preservation Act funding, as approved at Bourne’s 2009 May Town Meeting.

Mr. Ellis told historical commission members this week that slate work on the tower and back side of the roof had been completed prior to the occurrence of the damage.

Mr. Ellis said he had visited the work site frequently and thought the ongoing church roof work was being done correctly and well. The storm damage, he said, was not under the purview of the Bourne Historical Commission. Now, he said, a tent-like covering protects the roof while work is ongoing.

While the church office will be closed until repairs are made, the church secretary and pastor can be reached by phone at 508-888-0170 and via fax at 508-888-0775. The church secretary’s e-mail is swiftmemorial@verizon.net; Pastor Brian M. Wood can be reached at swiftumc_pastorbrian@verizon.net.

A traditional worship service is set for 10 AM in the Swift Activity Center; a praise singing time starts in advance of the service at 9:45 AM. One of the few silver linings in the cloud of damages, Pastor Wood said, is the work that congregants have performed at the activity center. It now looks like a sanctuary, he said.


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