Church destroyed by Ike rebuilds

September 13, 2009 4:49:36 PM PDT
Sunday marked one year since Hurricane Ike roared ashore and people who had their lives turned upside down are taking a look back. One church that was seriously damaged in the hurricane is now open again. [IKE ANNIVERSARY: Look back at the storm that changed SE Texas]

It's been a long road for the Seabrook United Methodist Church to rebound following the storm and Sunday marked a new beginning. The church has been around for about 98 years. But this past year after Hurricane Ike damaged its home, members resorted to meeting on a local school campus. That is, of course, until Sunday.

"There were times when we wondered if it would ever happen," said church member Jeannine McKain.

A day when the pews at the Seabrook United Methodist Church would be so full of people sitting under a new roof, there would be a scramble for extra chairs.

"We're rationing programs. This is it," said one parishioner

"We feel blessed and very happy," said McKain.

Just one year ago, Hurricane Ike laid waste to this church, dispersing many of its members.

At the old church, the damage is still visible, all of it caused by floodwaters that crept four feet up the church walls, a sight Pastor Tony McCollum remembers soaking in for the first time.

"It was almost numb. You went through a lot of shock," said Pastor McCollum.

But over the last year, the church has worked to rebuild at its new location. This weekend, on the anniversary of the storm, it opened the doors to its new $3.5 million home.

"This is greater than anybody's wildest dreams, so we're all just beaming," said Pastor McCollum.

And though it's not the same building where Kathy and Mike Zerkus were married, she doesn't seem to mind.

"Oh, it's beautiful. It really is," said Kathy. "It gives me goosebumps just thinking how beautiful this new church is."

For those who come to the church, this is a sign of a future and the promise of faith.

The pastor said about 600 people showed up to each of the two services held Sunday. That's about 400 more than he's been used to.

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