It's business as usual for flooded church - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

It's business as usual for flooded church

July 17, 2005

Acree-- Monday morning will mark a week since heavy rains from Hurricane Dennis left extensive damage at a south Georgia church. Six to twelve inches of water filled the sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Acree but deep water isn't stopping their worship.

At the First Baptist Church of Acree, members are coming together as one after one storm left their sanctuary in ruins. "Unity in purpose and unity in spirit," says Pastor Mark Sickling. Only a few days ago the worship area was filled with water. "Over $100,000 worth of damage in the sanctuary itself and then in our youth building that was also flooded, about $20,000 or $25,000 worth of damage," says Sickling.

Hurricane Dennis may have damaged their building but it hasn't damaged their spirits. "God puts no more on you than you can bare. It's just a little setback. We'll be back in there shortly," says church member Carla Hayes. It won't stop them from finding alternative ways to worship. "For the most part, it'll be business as usual," says Sickling. Members are still finding the blessings after the storm.

"I know what the flooding of the church has done for me. It's absolutely made my faith stronger," says Hayes. Service is being held in the neighboring fellowship hall and the congregation is seeing that it's not the building that defines the church. "You, me. We are the church," preaches Sickling. It's the people coming together in a unified effort, a message that Pastor Mark Sickling is trying to get across.

"It will be related to what we've experienced over the last week but also pushing forward for the next months ahead," says Sickling. He's confident that the church will pull through with the help of it's dedicated members. "Whatever they need us to do, we're going to be here," says Hayes.

"We certainly have faith that God is going to provide the resources that he has for us to rebuild," says Sickling. It will be a house full of faith that will last for years to come. "This church will go on and God is going to bless us," preaches Sickling.

Unfortunately, the church did not have flood insurance so it will take a unified effort between the congregation and the community to rebuild. The church says this is the first time since the late 1940's that any type of flooding has occurred.

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