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Tarboro Congregation Decides to Rebuild Church After Flooding

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TARBORO — Parishioners of Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church have settled into Saint Paul's, a congregation up the street from where their church stands. But the move is not permanent.

Hurricane Floyd's flood waters filled the church, along with dozens more churches in eastern North Carolina, leaving many congregations without a place to worship.

For the past three months members of both churches have shared Sunday morning duties of providing a choir, full pews and a pastor.

In early October the congregation of Eastern Star Baptist Church had come together, hoping they could rebuild the walls of the church.

Now church members have decided Floyd did too much damage to repair their sanctuary, and those walls must come down and be rebuilt.

But many church members say the flood could not take down the faith of a congregation or the spirit of sharing.

"We hate to see her go, but she's sick," says Deacon William Joyner, who first set foot in Eastern Star when he was 15 years old. "Some say she's contaminated. People are afraid to go in without a mask; we've gotta let her go on and die. This old lady has served her time."

The congregation plans to build a new building on the same site, but until then, the church lives on inside the hearts of its members.

"Eastern Star ain't dying, just the sanctuary," Joyner says.