Tioga Center, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Tioga Center Methodist Church celebrated Christmas Eve Monday night, but they are also celebrating a new birth of their own.
The pews were full for the first time in 15 months, when the church was destroyed in the flood of 2011.
Reverend Donna Martin said, "In September of 2011, our sanctuary took 31 inches of water, it covered the pew cushions and was to the base of the stain glass windows. We had to rip out four feet in order to start the repairs."
But it wasn't just cosmetic repairs that needed to be made, for 7 year member, Drew Griffin, it's still hard to explain how he felt when his church was destroyed.
Griffin said, "The church is an important part of this community, and it was difficult to see it covered in mud and water. It was difficult."
Excitement has replaced months of hope mixed with uncertainty. People like choir singer, Tammy Moyer, are hopeful for their new sanctuary.
She said, "It's a focal part of the community and it's just great to be able to see it back to where everyone can come back and worship in the church again. I'm just so excited."
It's not a coincidence that the church is back into their sacred space for the first time on Christmas Eve. Reverend Martin said, "When the event happened, it seemed like a good goal. We didn't think we could do it, but we set it as the goal and the wonderful people here made it happen."
Griffin agrees, he said, "It was a hard push, with a crew that clearly got it strength and energy through the lord, It was quite an event."
Monday night's service was all about Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. They will have a service about the flood this Sunday, December 30.