Strong winds strip Thames church of roofing iron, pastor praying for fine weather
Iron cladding from Thames Baptist Church flew several yards over the road after high winds over the weekend.
Strong winds have left a church in the Thames partially homeless and a clergyman hoping the heavens are in his favour.
Thames Baptist Church pastor Chris Lee received a call from Fire and Emergency at noon on Saturday that half of the church’s roof was missing.
Winds of 36 km/h had torn off the iron cladding and sent it several meters further up the road.
Now Lee has been praying for sunshine all week after being told it will be a while before the church is completely covered.
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Strong wind warnings and watches are in effect for areas in central New Zealand as gusts come from both sides of the Cook Strait.
“When I first got the fire alarm at 12 noon, I initially thought a tree had fallen. Turns out the roof iron was all the way down Mary Street.
“The strong wind had cut half of it off and then the rest was still stuck but flapping.
“We’re lucky it didn’t happen later in the day because it could have killed someone.”
For the past three days, the church has struggled to find someone to screw in the loose iron.
The climb up was considered dangerous because of the hall’s high roof, Lee said.
“We found a company in Paeroa that could do it safely on Monday morning.
“The iron that was loose was taken off, others were screwed in.”
The other half of the roof, however, remains visible.
“It’s a 1910 building, so under the iron is sarking [roof sub-structure] and that sarking is the ceiling of the building, so on the back of the building we haven’t been able to weatherproof it because we can’t get that high.
“We hope it doesn’t rain until that work is done or we might end up with a flooded church.”