Historic Kinston church begins clean up after Matthew flooding

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – One of the oldest churches in Lenoir County is facing another unexpected make over.

Matthew heavily damaged a 250-year-old church.

The last two decades the Southwest Christian Church has survived two major floods.

Chairman of the Board, Preston Hunter, has been a member during Floyd and Matthew.

“We really weren’t expecting it in Floyd,” explained Hunter. “In this case when we hear about the height of the river and crest we knew it would probably get in. So we tried to do everything we could to save as much as possible this time.”

Now that they are back in, it’s time to get to work to restore the beloved church.

“We are trying to get the walls get everything opened up, get everything dried out so hopefully we can start rebuilding and reconstructing in the next few months,” Hunter said.

Many members of the church came by to help.

Even the younger crowd stepped up to the plate.

“They didn’t complain as long as you feed them they didn’t complain,” Delana Gray.

15-year-old Gavin Harrell said the food helps but he’s pitching in for a bigger reason.

“This church means a lot to the people that come to this church,” Harrell said. “So we figured since they can’t get out here and do it we come and get it done quicker, so they can get back to doing what they like.”

Hunter said it’s a growing experience for the congregation.

“It’s not something you want to go through but it like anything else from anything bad there’s always a good parts to and it think that’s the good,” he said.

Sheila hunter-white said they wouldn’t be where they are now without her faith.”

“And the love that we have for one another and the team work.”

As it seems all is not lost and the church will continue to make history, and now their names on the wall will too

“They’ll see that a lot of people actually care about this church, ” Harrell said.

Renovations on the church are expected to be done in about six months

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