Teams of church members and Good Samaritans are working inside the church on Telge Road today to remove saturated drywall and insulation. The devastated sanctuary of the church built in 1928 was relatively new, renovated less than two years ago.
"We're very proud to be part of this community," Willey said with tears in his eyes.
However, the damage is extensive. The doors are swollen and the carpets - though they stopped the water from rising - were ruined. Willey said, "We're looking at pretty much a complete loss. Hopefully, we can save our pews, but that's questionable at this point. But everything else I'm afraid is lost."
The church didn't have flood insurance, but, as Willey noted, they'd never needed it before. "We've always been on the high ground," Willey said. "We have never flooded in our history. We're lacking those financial resources of course to deal with this point. We'll see, God will provide."
The church will take money from their capital improvements budget, but it's expected not to cover the expenses of the cleanup and repairs.
In the meantime, church services will be held on Sunday at the current location, but another church has already stepped forward to offer their facilities for the extended future.
"God's people worship every day," Willey said. "We will worship and this Sunday we will probably be here in our parking lot, under umbrellas, but we will worship. We'll glorify our God. In the midst of all of this, we're seeing God doing great things. Great, great people. I want to say thank you to the community. We've just had people walk in and just helping. It's just been fantastic."
Workers at the church are continuing to strip everything out in order to avoid mold, and pods will eventually be brought in to save other belongings.
As for the situation the church is facing, Willey said, "Tragedy is a part of living in this world. That's why we have a risen savior who declares that he has overcome the world and this is but a wisp of time for us. ... And he endures. He sees us through. You have to put the Holy Spirit in power to walk in this world and to glorify him even in the midst of this. Jesus said you can have joy. Joy, period. Overflowing joy, despite your circumstances. And that's been the neat part of this congregation. I've been here a year-and-a-half now. This is a congregation who has seen a lot. And they celebrate a God who is gracious and helps us in endure in times of tragedy."
Willey added, "The church is the people. The church (building) is just a building."
If you would like to help the church, go to their GoFundMe page.