Lightning damages bell tower

By Joe Beck

The 132-year-old Quicksburg United Methodist Church survived a lightning strike Wednesday night, but its bell tower will need repairs.

The lightning bolt that struck the bell tower came from a thunderstorm rumbling through the area at about 5:30 p.m.

Catherine Olinger, a church member who lives across the street from the structure said the church is still open and following its normal schedule for services. Olinger said she expects the church’s insurance policy will pay for repairs.

“My husband and I, we have lived here 62 years,” Olinger said. “We don’t know of anything like this happening to our church before.”

Olinger said there was no fire, and no fire company was called out. The lightning also damaged a nearby electric pole, she said.

“We’ve been lucky over the years because we haven’t had an insurance claim,” Olinger said. “It’s just a small church. We don’t have a lot of members. But it’s still our church.”

Olinger wrote a brief history of the church for a web site about churches in the Shenandoah Valley.

She said the church was built in 1881. The web site says it was known as Quicksburg Methodist Episcopal South until 1939 when it was renamed Quicksburg Methodist. It acquired its current name in 1968.

Olinger said she was relieved that new windows installed in the church three weeks ago were undamaged.

“We paid a good bit to have them done, but they’re beautiful,” Olinger said of the windows.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com