Spring Lake church rebuilds two months after Hurricane Florence

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— A small church in Spring Lake received so much damage from flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence that, two months later, they are still recovering.

Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, which has been in Cumberland County since 1909, had been flooded only once before, during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, pastor Floyd Benfield said.

Matthew swept in enough water to rip out the floors, and the church had a big celebration last year when repairs were done, Benfield said.

Florence damaged the walls, pulpit, pews and piano, he said. But despite the damage, the church’s 25 members still meet every Sunday for service.

“I want the church to grow,” Benfield said.

According to the pastor, the church’s following has grown since the Little River filled its three buildings with water.

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The church has also received donations from people around the country. Checks have come pouring in, some as much as $10,000.

“We’ve had people [donating] from Colorado, from Texas, from Florida, from Tennessee,” Benfield said.

The donations have helped the church rebuild its fellowship hall, where folding chairs act as temporary pews.

The pastor says it will take more than a few floods to force the church to move to higher ground.

“We’re all subject to these things,” he said. “The church has been knocked down a couple times by flooding, but look, the world got flooded one time, and God brought them back.”

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Benfield has applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and plans to organize fundraisers. He said the Presbyterian Church Disaster Team could also provide financial help.

“The little church does not feel that God is through with us,” he said.