PAYNEWAY, AR (KAIT) – Nearly one year after spring flooding devastated parts of northeast Arkansas, one Region 8 pastor said the May flood that almost destroyed his community brought a revival to his church.
"The best thing that happened to us was this flood," said Corners Chapel Baptist Church pastor Glen Hurst.
The Corners Chapel congregation plans to expand the church by building a new fellowship hall. The expansion is a result of an increase in attendance at the church.
"The revival started at the flood and it's still continuing on today," said Sunday School director Jay Paul Woods.
"We used to average 15-20 on Wednesday nights and Sunday nights. Now, we're averaging in the mid-40's.
Corners Chapel congregation members initiated the revival through relief efforts, when members fought to save residents and their homes through delivering supplies and sandbagging homes. "Corners Chapel Baptist Church became the command post for the effort to try to provide as many services to the community of Payneway as we could," said church member Bobby Smith.
The congregation hopes the post will grow. Woods said the church has raised $62,000 dollars for the expansion. "We want to add on to the existing building at the back on the east end of the parking lot, and it would actually connect to the Sunday school rooms."
Woods said the new building will be an in-house project to reduce labor costs and keep the church out of debt. "We have a general contractor. We have a master electrician. We've got other people that know things, how to do things, flooring and stuff like that. So, everything that's going to be done we're going to try to do it ourselves."
Pastor Hurst said the flood of gratitude for his church is still uplifting, and he sees the project as a way to thank the people who helped the church.
"We don't know how many people helped us probably a thousand people helped us, and we want to say, 'Thank you for the help, and helping work through this difficult time in the life of Payneway and Corners Chapel Baptist Church.'"