REFUGIO—On the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction of First Baptist Church of Refugio, church members and community leaders gathered to celebrate the dedication of the remodeled church building.
On Aug. 25, 2017, the Category 4 Hurricane Harvey attacked the southern coast of Texas, causing widespread damage and destruction. The roof of FBC Refugio’s sanctuary was mostly removed, rendering the building unusable. The church’s education building also sustained significant damage and was completely gutted. Two years later, on Aug. 25, 2019, the church was busting at full-capacity, with 275 people in attendance, to dedicate the building to the Lord.
Dedication service reflects a heart of gratitude
To open the service, Pastor T. Wayne Price shared a passage from Nehemiah where the Israelites dedicated the rebuilt temple. In the same way, Price encouraged the congregation to join with him in “earnestly thanking God for how far He has brought us and all He has done,” Price said. “As long as we have breath, we will honor Him.”
Program participants included ministers and leaders who provided support for the church over the two-year recovery process. Roy Joe Ham, minister of administration from First Baptist Church of Norman, OK, led a prayer of praise. Ham brought four volunteer teams from FBC Norman to serve in Refugio over the last two years, with a fifth team coming in October. Ruby McGuill, a musician and friend of the community, led a song of praise. Dan Miller, small group pastor at Clear Lake Baptist Church in Houston, led an additional prayer. Dr. Jimmy Arnold, retired pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodsboro, led the prayer of dedication.
Texas Baptists Associate Executive Director Steve Vernon and Director of Cooperative Program Ministries Chris Liebrum presented a plaque to the church, commemorating the dedication. Area Representative Fred Ater preached the dedication sermon from Acts 2.
“Churches across Texas have been praying for this church,” Ater shared. “God was going to do some great things just because of prayer, how powerful that is.”
New ministry opportunities begin
Price has seen the hand of God in the recovery process and expressed heartfelt gratitude for the support of the churches and partners who helped carry the burden along the way. Like Aaron and Hur carried Moses’ arms when he was tired and weary in Exodus 17, Price felt the encouragement of his church members at times when he was weary and worn.
One of the greatest blessings of the remodeled buildings is the ability to provide new ministry opportunities. Beginning on Sept. 18, FBC Refugio will host full Wednesday evening activities at the church, with a meal followed by small group Bible studies for all ages. For the first time, the church will expand its Wednesday activities to include children and young adults. Price looks forward to the new ministry opportunities as young adults in the church have volunteered to lead discipleship and mission classes for children.
The church has also seen several professions of faith and will baptize four new believers on Sunday, Sept. 1.
“It’s a new attempt that we really are excited about. We think it’s a new day for our church,” Price said.