Florida church closes because of sinkholes

Total damage estimates could reach $1 million

Published On: Jan 06 2014 08:21:30 AM EST
TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. -

A church in Tarpon Springs is closed indefinitely following the discovery of two sinkholes on the property.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs discovered the sinkholes while remodeling.

The 80-member congregation is meeting instead at an Elks Lodge. Rev. Don Rollins says the total damage is still being calculated, but it might be as much as $1 million.

The church building is more than a century old. It is known for its paintings in the sanctuary.

A famous early 20th century artist named George Inness Jr. was a member, and his paintings adorn the sanctuary. They're undamaged, but until the engineers sign off and allow people back inside the church, the valuable paintings are off-limits.