Hurricane season ends...local church repairs continue - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hurricane season ends...local church repairs continue

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November 30, 2005

Acree- The busiest hurricane season on record ends, but repairs for an area church devastated by one of those storms haven't really started. You know a record season with 26 named storms left horrific destruction on the Gulf coast. But do you remember the south Georgia flooding after Hurricane Dennis in July? One church still has a big clean up job.

Christmas service at the First Baptist Church of Acree will be different this year. The decorations are the same, but thanks to Hurricane Dennis the location has changed.

"We're still meeting in our fellowship hall for morning worship, and evening worship, and Wednesday night services as well because the sanctuary building has not been renovated as of yet," said Rev. Mark Sickling, First Baptist Church of Acree.

Rains from Hurricane Dennis in July forced the congregation to put down their bibles and pick up sandbags. Still, six to 12 inches of water poured into the sanctuary damaging the carpet and pews.

"We have looked at some options of completely destroying the building and building from scratch, starting over, building the foundation higher, to elevating the floor a little bit, and to date still haven't chosen the exact plan we're going to use," said Sickling.

The loss means inconveniences, now most activities are held in fellowship hall.

"The meals that normally take place here, we can't do as routinely because of the logistics given the chairs and tables and things like that. Some of our meetings have maybe have been disrupted a little bit, but we're working through those things," said Phil Warren, Member.

It hasn't changed the spirit.

"I love worshipping in this building. I don't know why, I can't tell you, but it's just really, really good over here," said Louise Howell, Member.

"I think overall the spirit is still upbeat and still positive, that we have things to look forward to and that God has provided for us," said Warren.

Despite the difficulties, church members found a way to help others.

"We know other churches in other places around the country have been hurt during this hurricane season so, we were able at First Baptist of Acree to send over $4,000 to help the hurricane victims of Hurricane Katrina," said Sickling.

Showing that no matter how bad the circumstances, every cloud may have a silver lining.

"Everything that God does he means it for the good, not matter what it is, he means it for the good and if you believe that and you live by that what else is there," said Howell.

The church has raised more than $115,000 for the repairs. If they decide just to renovate the damaged sanctuary it will cost about $150,000. Renovation and expansion could cost a half million dollars.

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