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A helping hand: Congregation puts church first while dealing with own crisis

Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 1:31 PM EST
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BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It can be really difficult to lend a hand when you’re in need of one yourself.

However, the Appalachian region has proven time and time again that if you get knocked down, you can always count on neighbors to help you get back up on your feet again.

One faith community in Cabell County is embodying that neighboring spirit. Despite being impacted by serious flooding this week themselves, the congregation at Fellowship Baptist Church along Route 60, is still finding a way to give back to their community and support others.

“It looked like the Mud River had just come to church,” Pastor Greg Wagoner said about the flood waters that made their way into Fellowship Baptist Church.

Wagoner has dealt with a steady stream of feelings over the past week. It all started with hope on Monday.

He hoped the flood waters wouldn’t seep inside his sanctuary.

“You can put out a fire, [but] water, you just can’t stop it,” Pastor Wagoner said.

It wasn’t long before the parish found itself at the mercy of the floods with emotions of hope quickly turning to heartache as 28 inches of water slowly crept into the church Tuesday.

As flood waves surged in, despair flowed out.

“It was very sad. Our hearts did break just seeing where we worship the Lord together with the family of God every Sunday,” Wagoner recalled.

As the waters receded, new challenges were left behind for the congregation to overcome.

Wednesday, dozens of members showed up to church to begin removing pews, carpeting, and paintings to mop the floors and begin restoring the house of worship.

“While these certain situations hurt the heart [and] trouble the mind, they really revive the spirit of unity and cooperation and why we’re really here,” Pastor Wagoner said. “Jesus told us to love our neighbor, and we’re seeing a great outpouring of that.”

Fellowship Baptist Church hosted a service for their members Saturday morning and are holding an open house for the community at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

While the church does have insurance, it likely won’t cover all of the repairs and damages.

The church’s GoFundMe has raised more than 12,800 dollars as of Sunday afternoon.

The church is also a donation drop off/distribution center for other people who need supplies and flood buckets.

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