LUMBERTON, NC (WNCN) — This was a special Easter Sunday for members of a historic west Lumberton church.
Over the last six months, First Baptist Church has been closed for renovations after significant damage from Hurricane Matthew.
On Sunday, the church doors reopened and welcomed its members back.
The service Sunday at First Baptist was one like never before.
Every member of the church was impacted by hurricane Matthew floodwaters.
The service was about giving thanks for the unexpected and trusting a higher power to do the rest.
Clapping hands resounds throughout the First Baptist sanctuary with hymns of praise and various expressions of gratitude.
“Lord, have mercy, I’m so excited to be back home I don’t know what to do,” said Evelyn Campbell Easton, a 40-year member of the church.
More than five feet of water flooded the historic church during Hurricane Matthew.
That flooding caused nearly $1 million in damage.
Over the last six months, services were held at a recreation center about 20 minutes away.
During that time, attendance declined drastically.
“I was devastated, I was shocked and I was disheartened,” said Carol McDougald, a church member for 15 months.
Floodwaters destroyed many of their possessions, leaving hundreds of Lumberton families to start from scratch.
One thing’s for sure, the spirit at First Baptist is even stronger now, church members say.
Church leaders say there are still a few more repairs that need to get done.
And, many members are still displaced from their homes.
But, because of their great faith, church members say they believe some good will come from this situation.
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