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‘Prayer of thanksgiving’: A pastor’s message of hope for a flooded Conway

Conway Church Reverend gives his congregation a message of hope

On September 23, 2018 Rev. Kim Strong of Trinity United Methodist Church in Conway gives his congregation a message of hope on Sunday afternoon. Rev. Strong's church flooded and delivered his sermon in a different location.
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On September 23, 2018 Rev. Kim Strong of Trinity United Methodist Church in Conway gives his congregation a message of hope on Sunday afternoon. Rev. Strong's church flooded and delivered his sermon in a different location.

Days of flooding, homes ruined, traffic and a displaced congregation did not dampen the Sunday sermon of Rev. Kim Strong of Trinity United Methodist Church. He had a message of hope for the more than 120 people gathered for the 2 p.m. church service.

Strong’s church building has already flooded as a result of Hurricane Florence, causing the service to be held at First United Methodist Church in downtown Conway. When Strong led the first prayer, he said it was a “prayer of thanksgiving” that they were still alive, even if their possessions were flooding.

“You’re here today to worship God, and some of you don’t know what state your house is in,” Strong said. “How faithful you are.”

The church itself wasn’t the building, Strong said, his church was the individual people gathered to worship. And if people were gathered, then Trinity Methodist would have a church.

“Church is sitting in these pews this morning,” he said.

As people sat in the pews, outside the stained glass windows of the church, traffic remained slow. The Waccamaw River continued to rise as more streets closed and homes flooded.

Yet, the message Strong wanted to convey was clear: God is still in control despite the unpredictability of the flood. He said that God was in control during the storm, after the storm and when people return home after evacuating the flooding.

For Strong, there is plenty of evidence that Jesus can restore lives.

He told the story of Lazarus, a man Jesus brought back from the dead. In the story, Jesus rolls back the stone of Lazarus’ tomb and resurrects the man.

It is during this biblical story that Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”

Strong said Jesus can restore life to man through faith and he is excited to see the work Jesus is going to do in the Conway community.

“I believe Jesus is going to start rolling back some stones,” he said.

The service ended with the congregation singing “Amazing Grace.” When the song came to the final verse, the organ stopped. Strong asked the congregation to sing the final verse, reminding them that the tough times are only temporary.

“One day. when we’re all together sitting around that crystal sea that always stays in the place it’s supposed to, we will look back at this day and say ‘we didn’t know what God had planned for us,’” he said.

Follow more of our reporting on Hurricane Florence

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