WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - We’ve heard some amazing recovery stories since 2018 when Hurricane Florence made landfall. A lot of pieces have been picked up but there are still some recovering, but Saint Luke AME Zion Church is the latest success story.
A surreal moment for every member of the church as the marched in to their newly upgraded sanctuary on communion Sunday. It’s been a year and a half since the congregation members sat in the pews of their sanctuary. On Sunday, they returned home.
“This is just a building but the church is us, it’s in our heart," said Pamela Evans, a member for 20 years. Today, was the icing on the cake to remind us the church is in us.”
It was an uphill battle for Evans and the rest of the congregation after Hurricane Florence. Pews needed to be replaced, drywall taken out and new carpet installed. The congregation had to move into the fellowship hall to worship.
“There were many challenges many shocks," said Evans. "We still persevered as members; times we did have to step back but never lost the role of who were. We are gods people and we still had to push forward so we can carry out what God has set forward us to do.”
Sunday’s sermon emphasized that church is not a building or a specific room. It is the people. That’s what kept their faith strong.
“When you know that church is inside of you, it doesn’t matter where you are," said Pastor Jermaine Armour. "You’re going to serve you’re going to pray wherever you are and that’s what we believe.”
Armour says the storm opened their eyes. Gave them a chance to be grateful in life and gives them an extra appreciation for something they previously took for granted.
Through the time sanctuary was being rebuilt, Saint Luke’s was still doing community service and welcoming people in.
Pastor Armour said there will always be people in need and they didn’t want to leave anybody behind.