CLIFTON — There were no trumpets sounding as in the Bible book of Joshua, and it wasn’t the walls of Jericho but those of the Clifton Tabernacle that came tumbling down on Thursday.
The church was razed to make room for a new structure that has been in the planning stages for years. The replacement church, however, might be some time in coming.
The demolition drew an audience of neighbors and church members, including Dana and Roberta Lewis, of Clifton. Members of the tabernacle since 1988, the Lewis couple came early, carrying lawn chairs to ensure a front-row seat.
Dana Lewis said the church was in a sad state of disrepair. Termites had caused serious damage to the structure, especially to the floor.
Although church membership is few, 12 to 15 people at a normal service, the group has been holding fundraising dinners for years. Baked steak, tacos in a bag, and hot dogs have been served by members who knew the day would come when a new church would be necessary. Roberta Lewis said the tabernacle has raised about $20,000 through their efforts.
The church has been experiencing other problems in addition to their deteriorating building. The pastor, Larry Gilland, died in February of this year. Efforts to replace him have been slowed, mostly because the church cannot afford to pay a minister, but must rely on one who will volunteer his time, Dana Lewis said.
Since Pastor Gilland’s death, the tabernacle has been holding Sunday School, and will continue to do so in the fellowship building, located on the church grounds.
Dana Lewis said church pews, pictures and other items are now in storage. Men from the church also removed the cross from atop the steeple prior to demolition.
“It might be spring before we start to rebuild,” Lewis said.