Integrated church still united after historical flood
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
An Albany church celebrates a milestone that came along with the Flood of '94'.
A predominately African American church and a predominately white church came together during the flood and merged shortly after.
The flood of 1994 was devastating to two Episcopal churches in the Radium Springs area, but members turned that devastation into a unification. 20 years later, you can still see the flood line on this wooden beam inside St. John and St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
"8 feet of water, we cleaned up fairly well. The St. John’s Episcopal Church, the African American church was flooded as well. They had a sinkhole in their yard," said Father Joe Clift.
Members of St. John's lost their church and could not return to their old location. They looked to St. Mark's as a way to keep their church going.
"We were in the process of looking for a new site anyway. We wanted a new church. The flood actually opened up a new opportunity," said Gail Griffin.
After the flood, the two separate churches started worshipping in this sanctuary. In 1996, they officially became one congregation.
"We got together and decided we would merge the two congregations. So we had an interracial mixture of about 50/50. African American and White," said Father Joe Clift.
Members say the merger was an easy solution that created a new congregation out an act of God.
"The reaction was we still need to go and make this work because it was still about worshipping God. That was the primary reason for coming, to have a place to gather, worship and fellowship," said Gail Griffin.
When they became one, they opened Primo Hall, a fellowship center, to help them reach people in the community.
St. John and St. Mark's have about 100 members and continue to thrive as one church in the community.