"It means a lot, it truly shares the true meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ and we are grateful that it was done by the love of our people." Kim Ethridge is the pastor of Decker United Methodist.
She says she was visiting family overseas when she heard about storm damage in Manor that impacted her church. "The estimated cost of damage was $4300 and the deductible was $5000 so it did not make any sense to pay the deductible to do the repair,” the pastor says.
The church is more than 100 years old and had almost lost one of it's most important parts. The wind was so strong during the storm it caused the steeple and cross to hang at a 45 degree angle.
Ethridge says the congregation immediately started working to find ways to fix the damage. "To be honest no one was really panicking because we knew that we would be able to work this together to rebuild the steeple and the cross.''
Canyon Franzetti's IT company, Canitan has an office in the back area of the church.
He says, "It would have been a long time before it was able to be fixed because it would have been blown off or even worse." After seeing the storm damage, he posted on Facebook asking if the local fire department Travis County ESD 2 would consider lending their ladder truck to remove the cross so it could be repaired and replaced. The community quickly responded.
Tye Prange Battalion Chief at AFD says, “I contacted the crew over at Quint-18 and said "Hey, do you guys wanna go help out a church?" and they just said, "What time?" They were totally willing, I asked them if they wanted to make a training event out of it and they were absolutely willing to do that, so I contacted also Engine-26 as that's their territory out there and said the same thing to them and they were absolutely willing to go over there, so that's how it all came about."
It was a domino effect.
Those fire crews provided two trucks while having water drills going on. And it took 30 minutes to actually put the cross up. Franzetti had the screws to secure the cross to the steeple and the project was complete on July 3rd.
“We're always willing to go the extra mile and you see that day-in and day-out, but I don't know if the public sees that, but that's okay too. We're just happy to do our job,” Prange says.
Decker United Methodist has a congregation of 15 to 25 people. Pastor Etheridge says not one person who helped put the cross back in it's place are members.
Which she says goes to show how Manor really comes together during a time in need. She says, “The steeple represents the shining light of Jesus Christ. We have served our community for many years. The love and community the cross represents everything about it."
Pastor Ethridge says her sermon this Sunday touches on the cross and steeple repairs.
Encouraging people to rejoice always without being anxious. What she feels the members did while waiting for a problem to be fixed.