Flooding a setback, but church’s mission remains

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Floods that impacted Kentucky last weekend took a toll on Riverview Baptist Church, located near the Kentucky River on the line between Fayette and Madison counties.


But Ronnie Willoughby, who has pastored the church for almost 2 1/2 years, doesn’t plan on having a flooded church basement disrupt the church’s mission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.


“We’ve got to do what we are called to do,” he said. “We are trying to do Gospel to Every Home outreach then, the next thing you know, this (flooding) happens. We were going to get together for training, then the week before Easter we were going out. Now we’re not sure what will happen regarding that schedule.”


Willoughby, in his first pastorate after years of teaching and supply preaching, said scheduling activities and outreach will depend on how fast the flood waters go down.


“We’re just waiting to see how bad the damage is,” he said. With an estimated 4 feet of water in the church’s basement from heavy rains that started last Saturday, the church will be able to resume its services in the sanctuary once the water recedes to allow traffic on the Camp Daniel Boone Road, he said.


“We were scheduled to have a Friday night singing this month, but looks like that will have to be canceled. I don’t know how long we will be out, but since the water isn’t in the sanctuary, once we can get in the building, we will use it.”


At this time, travel going in and out of the area is by boat. In a Facebook post, Willoughby asks prayer “for all the workers in this mess, for our church and for all the communities, homes and businesses — for all the people impacted by the flooding.”


This is the second time the building has flooded as a result of waters overflowing the river. The first time was 1957, but he has been told that the damage this time is much more severe.


The basement damage affects the kitchen, Sunday school rooms and fellowship hall. The basement floor had just been repainted, so that will need to be redone as well as replacing a heat and air unit and dry wall.


“About everybody who lives on our road comes to the church,” Willoughby said. The church has an average attendance of about 50 on Sunday. Even with the pandemic, Willoughby said the church was starting to grow.

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