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Clover church rebounds from May storm

A small Clover congregation that lost its church when a violent May storm sheared off the roof and flooded the sanctuary has found a new home.

After midnight on May 11, a line of tightly compacted thunderstorms swept through the region, producing hurricane-force winds that plowed trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of homes damaged, several families displaced and thousands without power.

Shirley Brown, a member of the Freewill Baptist Church, formerly located on Old North Main Street in Clover, remembers the morning after the storm.

Not only did the storm destroy their church; the devastation came just one week after the wife of their pastor at the time passed away.

The pastor's wife was so faithful and dedicated to the church, Brown said, "We felt like we just had to go on."

So they started looking for a new space and found one. To their fortune, it already had pews and other church equipment in it from a former church.

The owner of the building told them to move right in and start holding services, said Jonathan Smith, who recently became pastor after his predecessor remarried and moved to Italy, where his wife is stationed in the military.

Smith looks forward to growing with the congregation in York.

"There's the work to do anywhere you go," Smith said Wednesday. And he doesn't mean cosmetic work on the cinder block building, even though "there's that too."

Smith wants to get out into the community and tell people about the congregation.

"It's just a small church, but we've got a good neighborhood to work in," he said.