In 1995 Hurricane Opal tore through Dadeville, AL, leaving devastation in her wake. The facilities of the First United Methodist Church were not spared. High winds ripped the roof off of the church and water caused major destruction to the facilities.
Upon his appointment to Dadeville First UMC, Rev. Mac Larkin remarked in his first sermon “What a mess!” And what a mess was right! But under Rev. Larkin’s leadership the mess was cleared and the church was repaired, rebuilt and renovated. His leadership helped the church secure a SBL, small business loan, to pay for the needs the insurance did not cover. Three men in the congregation helped secure the loan, and the facilities of Dadeville First UMC were rebuilt.
In January 2011 Rev. Kevin Payne was appointed as pastor of Dadeville First UMC. “As a part of the ‘1st 90 Days Plan’ I was meeting with leaders and hosting an open church visioning meeting to learn, assess, and plan for the year,” Rev. Payne explains. “As a part of that conversation I learned that the congregation had made a promise to those individuals to have the loan repaid in 10 years. We were now approaching 16 years, and the debt had not been repaid. The congregation wanted to repay this debt.”
The congregation owed a little more than $55,000 on the note. They began a campaign to raise the funds on the first Sunday of Lent. By May 15 they had the funds.
“We wanted to be faithful to the promises we made to each other, just as we were preparing to celebrate the promises we have from God in the Resurrection,” Rev. Payne describes. “I know for some $55,000 doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is over a quarter of our yearly budget. We raised over a quarter of our budget in 9 weeks while maintaining paying our apportionments, exceeding our regular weekly budget needs, and sending over $5,000 to UMCOR. This congregation is a loving, faithful, and generous family. It is absolutely amazing what God has been, is, and will be doing in them and through them!”
On Sunday June 5 the church family gathered with Rev. Mac Larkin and Rev. Kevin Payne to burn the mortgage and re-consecrate the Sanctuary and facilities.
As one member of the congregation remarked “We are finally finished with Hurricane Opal. God has been faithful to us in all of this. I can’t wait to see what God will have us do now that this is behind us! Praise God from whom all blessing flow!”