Ridgeville church returns to church grounds for service six months after floods

VIDEO: Ridgeville church holds first service since October floods
Photo Source: Live 5 News
Photo Source: Live 5 News

RIDGEVILLE, SC (WCSC) - After more than six months after the October floods, Canaan United Methodist Church held its first service Sunday on church grounds. 
It's sanctuary was destroyed by flood waters, but the church has shown resilience in its journey to a new home

"It was a troublesome time, but today was a joyous time to come back to this site," church pastor, Rev. Jack Washington said.

He led his congregation into its new home the Family Life Center located next door to the church. The center is now rededicated as the place of worship.

"Got kept us, he watched over us when we were wondering and scattered all over after the flood," he said.

For more than six months the church had service at its sister church, Sand Hill United Methodist.

The Canaan sanctuary is now beyond repair. Members recall, on the day it flooded the church had service inside the church. It wasn't until that afternoon the water began to rise.

"I just saw pictures and I was like what's happening, I couldn't register what was happening, it was really hard," longtime member of the church, Shakera West said.

Pastor Washington said the water was up to the door of the church, above the set of steps.  Volunteers cleared about 18 and a half inches of mud in the church. A repairable Family Life Center was the next best fix, that too had severe flood damage.

"It was some real hard labor but they did it in love," Washington said. "We had to cut out all the walls about two feet up, took out all the wet soggy installation, dried it out, treated it for mold and put the installation back in.  We had to take all the tile up off the floor, all the bathroom, everything is brand new in this building."

Extensive labor went in to make the life center the new home that it is now.

"Just being able to enjoy our progress we've made so far in rebuilding, just gives us more motivation to keep going," longtime member of the church, Kiara Bowens said.

The pastor's message on the first Sunday Service on its own church grounds came with something people could take home with them.

"Everyone set out today from this place with a little rock, to remind them, a stone of help," he said. "We didn't get here on our own. God brought us out here and that's what the Ebenezer was all about. A stone of help in time of trouble."

The church still has a long road of rebuilding ahead. Volunteers from several states helped the church repair its family life center. The next step is to remove the current church building and build a new church at a higher elevation.

"After all the things we've been through we still got joy," Pastor Washington said.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.