PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The inside of Kings Chapel Community Church sits waterlogged along Shaw Highway.
Drenched Bibles, a pruned piano, soaked song sheets and crumbled pews lay like trash in a heaping pile.
“When we first opened the door of the church (after Hurricane Florence), it looked like a bomb had exploded,” said Sandra Davis, wife of Kings Chapel pastor Ronnie Davis. “When you give your life to something for 19 years, it’s really devastating to throw it all away.”
The church — founded in 1912 — has been steadily shrinking in size.
“We were down to four members, and struggling to keep this little place alive and this little place of worship open,” Davis said.
But this is no ordinary church. You could even call it the little church that could.
After seven feet of floodwater inundated the small sanctuary, it wasn’t yet time to lock the door and turn in the key, even though it was a thought.
“I had labored for two years. Can I be finished?" Davis said. "God, he kept saying, ‘Sit still until you know how this matter will fall. Please stay where I put you.’”
Then, it all became clear.
The N.C. Baptist Men came up with the idea of turning the church into a distribution center for housing supplies and building materials for hurricane victims.
“I believe God is wanting his church at this time to be a new direction to help in this neighborhood get back on its feet,” Davis said.
It’s a leap of faith, but also a new way to serve a community in need.
“The church is still going to be used," said Matt Wiemeyer, CEO of Operation Strength, a group helping with the rebuild. "The people aren’t here, but the church is spreading out into the community and that’s cool.”
Kings Chapel is longer serving just a handful of parishioners, but instead delivering hope for many from this former house of devotion.
“This is what we need to do," Davis said. "It’s time for us to give Kings Chapel a new direction and we are gonna take a new direction.”
The N.C. Baptist Men hope to complete the tear out and rebuild in the next 30 days. After that, the church plans to provide tools and building materials for the entire Pender County community.