Advice for churches in the path of Hurricane Florence — from those who’ve been there
'We need God’s help.” As Hurricane Florence barrels toward the…
Two floods in two years, it’s something the South Lumberton Church of Christ in North Carolina never could have expected.
“We’ve had hurricanes before,” Billy Campbell, minister for the South Lumberton Church of Christ, told The Christian Chronicle. “We’ve been there since 1966, but none like these last two that hit the area.”
First, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and now Hurricane Florence.
It’s been two weeks since Florence began its devastating path across the Carolinas.
Many in those in the states are dealing with the aftermath. As some areas continue to see flooding, others are trying to clean up damage left by the storm.
“We’ve lost flooring and the pews, and in one area, we’ve got a lot of Sheetrock and insulation that has to be torn out,” Campbell, said.
The South Lumberton church’s building was flooded by Florence. The water line is two feet off the ground. It’s the second time in two years the congregation has dealt with flooding from a hurricane.
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew brought flooding up to 32 inches inside the church’s building. It took months, but in June 2017, the congregation was able to move back in. And now, they’ve been hit again.
It took Campbell nine days to get back into the area after evacuating.
“When I got there, there was still water in the building,” he said. “You had to have boots to get in the building.”
Now that the water has receded, the congregation is once again tearing out flooring, throwing out doors and drying out walls and pews, in hopes mold won’t begin to grow.
Fortunately, Campbell’s home was spared flooding. He said water came up pretty high in the yard, threatening the home, but never getting inside.
“They don’t have a place to meet right now,” Brad Rowley, an elder at the East Main Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, Tenn., told The Christian Chronicle.
Rowley and groups with Disaster Assistance CoC have been working to help the South Lumberton congregation.
“We’re trying to cover a 50- to 60-mile radius of Fayetteville (N.C.),” said Mike Baumgartner, with Disaster Assistance CoC. “We’re getting where the big disaster groups don’t go.”
The organization has set up at the Helen Street Church of Christ in Fayetteville, sending trucks full of supplies to surrounding areas to help feed and provide for other needs of residents.
Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team is also working in North Carolina. Volunteers are cutting up downed trees and clearing debris from homes and roadways in the Wilmington area.
As for the South Lumberton congregation, they don’t have flood insurance. The congregation of about 65 members isn’t sure how they’ll pay for the repairs from this latest disaster.
“It’s just devastating, you know, but God will provide,” Campbell said.
Several churches are working on figuring out how they may be able to provide some financial assistance to the South Lumberton church.
Donations can be sent to South Lumberton Church of Christ, P.O. Box 581, Lumberton, North Carolina 28358.
For more information or to donate to the organizations helping in disaster recovery go to:
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