A freak bolt of lightning struck a Seventh-day Adventist
church on the island of Bermuda on Saturday night, causing no injuries but
leaving a gaping hole in the roof of the steeple.
“We want the church to be on fire but not like this!” said Sydney
Gibbons, executive secretary of the Bermuda Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, according
to the local Bermuda Sun newspaper.
The lightning zigzagged out of the dark night sky at around
12:30 a.m. just as a thunderstorm peaked over the island, the newspaper said.
Gibbons emerged from his home next to the church after he
heard a sound “out of the ordinary.”
He didn’t know what he was seeing at first. “In addition to
all the lightning that came at different spurts, there came a big bang and a
big glow,” he said.
Lightning strikes on buildings, including churches, are rare
but not unheard of. Eight Adventists were killed in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe,
when lightning hit the church where they were worshiping during the closing
hours of the Sabbath on Dec. 28. The lightning struck after a day of heavy
rains in the African country.
In Bermuda, nothing was damaged inside the church, but up to
two-thirds of the steeple roof will have to be replaced. It was not immediately
clear how much the repairs would cost, but insurance will cover them. The island, a British territory located off the U.S. East Coast, has 11 Adventist churches, according to the Bermuda Conference website.
Church workers toiled for about 40 minutes to clear the
debris left by the lightning strike, and local firefighters placed a tarpaulin
over the hole Sunday.
Gibbons, speaking Sunday, found a
positive side to the incident. “We didn’t have a service today — we had one
yesterday — so it was convenient!” he said.
Article in Bermuda Sun:
8 Adventists Perish in Malawi Lightning Strike: