NICHOLS, S.C. (WBTW) – Nichols was one of the hardest hit areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. News13 visited one of the oldest churches in the town Sunday as they work to restore it.
Nichols Baptist Church is 129 years old. It has experienced many Hurricanes but the flooding from Hurricane Matthew has left the congregation looking for donations or volunteers to help clean up.
Hurricane Matthew left Nichols Baptist Church with more than four feet of water.
Deacon Kevin Elliott explained three generations of his family grew up in this church. He hopes to restore his church home for another three generations.
Elliott said, “I grew up here. My kids grew up here. It’s kind of heartbreaking but we haven’t missed a Sunday service since we were allowed back into town two weeks after the storm.”
The congregation holds Sunday service on the front lawn or upstairs in the fellowship hall.
The mess Hurricane Matthew left behind has pulled the community together and strengthened their faith in God.
Craig Graham, a Deacon of Nichols Baptist Church explained, “We feel like Job. We are being tested. Hopefully we pass the test.”
Nichols Baptist does not qualify for help from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) unless they take out a small business loan. Deacons from the church estimate the cost to replace the flooring, walls and appliances to cost nearly $150,000. Many of the families in the congregation lost their homes.
Elliott said, “Majority of them are homeless. They are living with family or friends. Or they are living in campers in front of their houses that they are rebuilding.”
“They don’t really have the money to help rebuild the church. So, we need outside help,” Elliott adds.
The church relies on tithes and offering to pay the bills.
Graham explained, “We haven’t had a problem paying our bills but we have never had a bill like we’ve got now. This makes a world of difference with what we can and cannot do.”
Now the Nichols Baptist community is leaning on each other to rebuild their House of the Lord.
Graham said, “All of our membership has one goal… to get the church back.”
“It’s going to happen. It’s going to take time. But it’s going to happen,” Graham adds.
Elliott explained, “We’re going to survive the storm… It might take 6 months, a year or two years. But we’re not going to give up.”
“It is home. You don’t leave home,” Elliott adds.
To donate to the Nichols Baptist Church visit:
Volunteer to help restore Nichols Baptist Church:
Join the congregation each Saturday to restore the church.