Pews remain empty in Conway church 6 months after Hurricane Florence

Pews remain empty in Conway church 6 months after Hurricane Flroence

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Thursday marked six months since Hurricane Florence made landfall and the recovery efforts continue, with some people wondering when they’ll feel a sense of normalcy again.

The pews at Trinity United Methodist Church have been empty for six months and leaders said it may be a year before they’re able to begin holding services in the sanctuary.

They said flood waters from Hurricane Florence left three of four buildings unusable.

“We had been lead to believe a few years ago that it was such a high amount that it was not affordable,” said Cindy Smith, the associate pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church.

“Flood insurance was going to be well over $100,000 a year on our five buildings here," Rev. Kim Strong, pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church, said. "So, they decided it would not be good stewardship of the money to do that and it would be easier now if we had.”

Church leaders have now applied for a small business loan through FEMA and hope they'll be awarded a grant to help cover the costs that continue to add up.

“It’s mind-boggling, I mean we’re talking about millions of dollars,” Smith said. “It just takes everything coming together to make it all possible and a lot of prayers certainly goes into it as well.”

The expenses not covered by grants and loans, the church is hoping to raise as a congregation. The church conducted a survey to see what members wanted to do moving forward.

They decided they wanted to rebuild in the same place, but with some precautions.

“We are doing everything humanly possible to prevent this type of damage from happening again in the future," Smith said. "We are raising the floor in the sanctuary, when we build our multipurpose building it will be built at an elevated height. Both will be built on a concrete slab as opposed to a crawl space type of building. We are going to have flood proof doors to keep the waters out and flood insurance as well.”

“We believe God will do something wonderful here," Strong said. "We’re going to sit back and do our part as God shows us why this happened and what all was brought from it.”

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