Church in Owego: slow to rebuild

By Perry Russom

July 11, 2013 Updated Jul 12, 2013 at 1:08 AM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Not much has changed at the First Baptist Church in Owego in the past two years.

Because of a lack of funds, construction equipment still litters the sanctuary, and the floor boards are still up.

"We removed all of the hardwood floor," said Rodger Fritz, church moderator. "All of it was flooded."

In September of 2011, flood waters ripped apart the basement, leaving knee-deep mud.

The water has long since receded and the mud is gone, but plenty of signs of repair remain.

Construction on the church started a year ago, but now it's slowing down without enough money to continue.

Members have been using the building next door, known as "The Spot," for worship.

"We keep telling them we'll be in (the church) in another month," said Fritz. But it won't happen without the money.

It's estimated the church will need approximately $500,000 to reopen their doors.

The church has relied on grants, donations and fundraisers to find the money. They held a fundraiser with Sweet Frog in Vestal on Thursday.

"God owns it all," said G. Terry Steenberg, church pastor. " He knows how much we need. We don't really know how much we need. If it's $2, $200,000 or $2 million, it's all the same to God."

While they acknowledge a few fundraisers at Sweet Frog won't solve their problem, every bit helps.

"I'm just really hoping that maybe get the word out there that people are still trying to rebuild after two years," said First Baptist parishioner Marilyn Murray.

While the church has been ripped apart by the flood, they said their faith will piece it back together.