updated 9/18/2007 5:28:23 PM ET 2007-09-18T21:28:23

Two lightning strikes on the same day didn't topple the steeple of the 117-year-old Newman United Methodist Church, but they exposed something that might have. They blew out the siding and exposed dry rot that might have brought the steeple down.

Scott Stegall of Stewart Restoration Services said most of the steeple will have to be replaced because of the dry rot.

Repairs began last week and should be done in October.

One of the beams was so soft you could poke a finger through it, said Charlene Burgess, the church administrative assistant.

The July 11 lightning strikes broke out windows and damaged the church organ and did other damage totaling about $60,000.

The first bolt went down through the steeple and separated the siding.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, Newman United's predecessor, was hit by lightning in 1888.

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