Wilson church reopens after devastating storm damage
Posted February 5, 2012
Wilson, N.C. — First Free Will Baptist Church in Wilson reopened its doors to worshipers Sunday morning, the first time since storms blew through the county nearly eight months ago.
Last June, a lightning strike sparked a fire above the sanctuary, causing extensive fire and water damage.
“I remember standing here that night, watching it burn and just feeling my whole heart come out,” said church member Kelly Carlton. “It just feels so good to be back.”
After months of congregating in their activity hall or at a nearby church, First Free Will Baptist Church has a new steeple, a larger pulpit and an upgraded audio and video system. Church members say they've never seen the parking lot so full for a Sunday morning service.
“I couldn’t wait to get here this morning,” said church member Karen Durrett. “We are grateful that nobody was hurt. It could have been a whole lot worse than it was – a whole lot worse.”
The cost to repair and renovate the church was more than $800,000.
“It only destroyed a building, not the church, and the people are the church,” said church member Tony Lange.