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Local Arkansas church reopens after being closed for three years due to tornado damage



Little Rock, Arkansas – After three years of closure, the Refuge Church in Lake City has reopened.

The leftovers of Hurricane Laura, which hit in August 2020, were responsible for the church’s devastation.

According to pastor Steven Hinkle, he and his wife were present at the church when the harm was done.

“My wife said, ‘I hear the noise, it sounds like it could be a tornado, let’s get in the restroom quick. Within a matter of minutes, the tornado had hit our church,” he said. “When we got out, my wife fell to her knees because she saw that most of our buildings had been destroyed.”

The church has been holding meetings in a different town site for the previous two years.

The church has been in existence for more than 120 years, and the hurricane wasn’t the sole cause of destruction.

The church was destroyed by a fire in 1920, a tornado in 1984, and a hurricane in 2022.

“We had a long wait because of COVID, because of supplies, because of cost changing many times, because of different building codes,” Hinkle said.

Normally, the first service begins at 10:30, but attendees arrived at the church an hour early to tour the new facility.

According to Pastor Hinkle, the church and the foyer are now connected as a result of the new renovation.

“One of them is the stained-glass windows that were in our sanctuary. We have them hung in our family foyer now as an art installation to still remember those that were given to and remind those in the past of part of the building that was there before,” said Hinkle.

“We’re overwhelmed with God’s goodness, humbled by what he’s done and what He’s provided for us. It’s not initially what he had planned two and a half years ago, it’s gone through many changes, we got a little less than what we expected but what matters is our people are back home today,” said Hinkle.

The brand-new Refuge Church structure serves as a reminder of the challenges the church has faced throughout the years. Finally, Refuge Church has returned home.