Don Worthington

York church benefits from roofers’ charity, good work

A member of the Carolina Ninja Windows and Roofing crew takes a pack of shingles off the lift on the roof of the Common Ground Baptist Church.
A member of the Carolina Ninja Windows and Roofing crew takes a pack of shingles off the lift on the roof of the Common Ground Baptist Church.

Professionally and spiritually, Tommy McFalls knows the value of a good carpenter.

During the weekdays McFalls is a lead foreman for interior work for Warco Construction of Charlotte. The firm specializes in sprayed fireproofing and interior commercial construction.

On Sundays, Pastor McFalls stands in the pulpit of the Common Ground Baptist Church south of York on the Chester highway. It’s a small rural church. On some Sundays the attendance is in single digits, but it’s normally between 25 and 36 members.

McFalls preaches and practices the Christian value of putting others’ needs before one’s own. When Michael Mitchell asked him if he knew of anyone needing a roof, McFalls started asking around.

Mitchell, who been a roofing contractor in York since 1998, recently has started a firm with friend Samuel Laughlin, and they were looking for ways to help the community.

When McFalls couldn’t find someone in need, he said he knew where there was a roofing need: his own church.

Common Ground Baptist had put off replacing its main roof for about four years and there were areas where it was leaking.

McFalls knew the cost and the amount of work involved – and both were more than he and the church could shoulder.

Their conversations led to “The Roofing Project Saving by Grace,” a program Mitchell and Laughlin said could be its own nonprofit organization, dedicating help to those in need, especially churches.

On Saturday Mitchell and Laughlin’s firm – Carolina Ninja Windows and Roofing – collaborated with Common Ground Baptist members to bring new life to the church building.

As the crew from Carolina Ninja removed the old roof, church members cleared away the debris and began cooking lunch for everyone. The work went quickly as the roofing crew used a mechanical lift on a ladder to move shingles from the ground to the roof.

It took manpower thereafter as the crews toted the shingles across the roof, nailing them into place with pneumatic air guns. The pop, pop, pop of two guns being used simultaneously meant another square of roofing – 100 square feet – was near completion.

In all the job was about 32 square or 32,000 square feet of shingles. The shingles came from Carolina Ninja’s supplier, ABC Supply.

As the Carolina Ninja crews quietly and efficiently went about their work – that’s where the company name comes from – Mitchell and Laughlin discussed doing similar projects in both South Carolina and North Carolina. Likely on that list will be a second and third roofing project at Common Ground Baptist Church. These projects will be much smaller in size, however.

For McFalls and his congregation, the project is, indeed, a saving by grace.

“We have been struggling,” McFalls said. Some problems are financial, others revolve around health issues, and then there are just “the regular church needs. The church doesn’t run itself.”

But with the help of Carolina Ninjas the church has become encouraged, McFalls said.

“This means the world to us ... this has been well prayed about,” he said.