Local News

Churches Open Doors to Other Congregations

Posted October 2, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— An act of God drove people from their homes and businesses during Hurricane Floyd, but the Lord's own house was not immune from flood waters.

Now, a Tarboro church is not just using this time to rebuild their sanctuary, but also their relationship with God.

"Tears do not care what your address is, and heartbreak is not discriminant about the household that it enters," preaches Rev. William Clayton of the Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church.

Clayton's sermons filled his 93-year-old church until two weeks ago. Rising flood waters replaced voices, and wooden pews took on the odor of mold and mildew.

"Just that in the midst of it we ought to be able to see a lesson learned, a lesson of life -- that God brought us through the storm. Even though the building is destroyed, our souls, spiritually, we are still here. So with that in mind, life goes on," he said.

Deacon William Parker of Eastern Star must deal with the damage, so the faith must go elsewhere.

"The building may be gone, but the day is still the Lord's day, so they are in worshiping services at our sister church, St. Paul," says Parker.

Rev. Clayton's message has moved up the street.

St. Paul is the mother church in the black community, from which all the other churches sprang. Some people view the shift of worship site to be like a homecoming.

Eastern Star members will decide this week how to go about rebuilding their church. St. Paul's will host their neighbors for as long as the visiting church needs.