The storms of this past winter at the site of one of the earliest established churches in the city of Portola resulted in major roof damage totaling over $250,000.
In February it was discovered that heavy snow loads caused roof trusses to buckle and crack in the Fellowship Hall, adjacent to the attached sanctuary, at the Portola United Methodist Church. Church volunteers managed to stabilize further damage with temporary interior posts, but the structure was so severely damaged that it was unsafe to enter and the city engineer “red tagged” the hall, prohibiting further use and occupancy.
Fortunately, the church has insurance coverage for approximately 90 percent of the repairs and local contractor Wes Boyd of WESFAB Construction has been contracted and begun repairs. Boyd will be installing new roof trusses and reinforcing columns, which requires removal of the existing Fellowship Hall roof, and re-shingling will also be needed on the sanctuary and the attached education annex. Additionally, replacement heaters, which were not covered by insurance, will leave the church’s small congregation, which is comprised of an average active attendance of only 60 members with a shortfall of $25,000.
According to Pastor Becky Stockdale, “Our congregation is hoping to address the shortfall through a ‘Raise the Roof’ capital campaign.”
Why is this campaign important to the greater Portola community at large? The city itself was formed in 1909 as a Western Pacific railroad town and only two years later, on June 17, 1911, the Community Protestant Church, which was to become the present-day PUMC, was established.
By 1926, the original church in its present location at 396 Second Ave. was an integral and important addition to the community, even serving as the temporary school after the new (at the time) Portola High School building was destroyed in a fire, and an evacuation venue in case of emergencies such as flooding.
Since that time, Portola United Methodist has been a part of the history of Portola serving as a meeting place for many civic groups, scouts, 4-H and other outreach programs such as NA, AA and Al-Anon.
This building has been a cornerstone of the community for many generations and will continue to be for many more to come. “We will continue to be a safe place for young and old alike, who come and are warmly welcomed, fed and leave us feeling God’s love and grace,” Stockdale added. “In order to do that, PUMC is asking for your help in raising the shortfall of funds needed to complete the roof repairs before the fall/winter storms.”
For those in the community wishing to participate in this fundraising endeavor, send a tax-deductible contribution to Portola United Methodist Church Raise the Roof Campaign, Attn: Reverend Becky Stockdale, 396 Second Ave., Portola, CA 96122.