Neighbors chip in to help church replace iconic steeple

GREENFIELD — After high winds sent the steeple atop Faith Baptist Church toppling from its perch last June, members of the church and nearby communities strung their efforts together to help replace the structure.

Construction workers installed a new steeple Tuesday morning, and despite the initial surprise, the Rev. Larry Hof says the steeple’s fall wasn’t an ordeal for the congregation; in fact, he calls it a blessing.

When community members arrived to church for services the day after the 18-foot steeple was knocked from the roof, Hof said everybody still saw the humor in the situation.

“It was a pretty comical sight,” Hof said. “We went in that day and had our services, nothing stopped. We all knew things would work out just fine.”

The church was able to recoup almost all costs it took to replace the steeple — about $6,000 — through insurance, Hof said. But members of the congregation also chipped in what they could to help at the time, so the accident didn’t end up costing the church any money.

In all, church members raised close to $2,400, Hof said. With a new, 16-foot steeple securely fitted to the roof, the leftover funds will be used to buy a new sign, something Hof and several longtime members of the church have wanted for years, he said.

One of the church’s longtime members does roofing work for a living, so he lent his time to mend the damage done to the roof from the previous steeple, Hof said.

And members of the church weren’t the only locals to lend a hand.

Steven Couch, owner of Apex Electric and Sign Co., less than a mile south of Faith Baptist, provided a free crane rental to help install the steeple.

Couch, who operated the crane, said he offered his services in part because it seemed like the neighborly thing to do.

But he also considers himself a man of faith, and although he attends a different church, he knew it was the right thing to do, he said.

“I’m just trying to do what I can to bless the people around me that need help,” Couch said.

Plus, he also got a thrill out of installing a steeple — a first for his company — he said.

“That part was pretty fun, too,” he said with a laugh.

It wasn’t the first time the congregation at Faith Baptist had trouble with the steeple, Hof said.

In 2011, about a year after moving into the building along County Road 600N, just north of Maxwell, church leaders noticed the steeple wobbled in the heavy wind.

The congregation rounded up about $8,000 to repair the steeple then, but it was still no match for the 60 mph winds that swept through the area in June.

Hof said he’s confident that the new steeple will stay put. It’s slightly smaller than the last, and it’s also made of aluminum as opposed to fiber glass, which should make it more stable, he said.

Kaycee Ball, a member of Faith Baptist for more than 20 years, said she knew the congregation would recover quickly. Still, she’s glad the steeple is replaced, she said.

“Without it, we just kind of looked like any other building,” Ball said. “But now people will know we’re out there.”

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Daniel Morgan is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (317) 477-3228 or