“An Amazing Fact: In 1874, Methodists in Swan Quarter, North Carolina, decided to construct a permanent church building. The homeless Christians found what they believed was the ideal site for their church, a perfect lot in the heart of town on its highest ground. But when they approached the owner of the lot, Sam Sadler, he did not want to waste his prime real estate for a church. Even after their offer was increased, Sadler flatly refused to sell the land.
Soon after, the Methodists accepted a gift of land a half mile away on some low-lying property. The members cheerfully began building a modest but sturdy structure on brick piers. Then something miraculous occurred that has been confirmed by scores of witnesses. On September 17, 1876, right after they dedicated the small church, a powerful hurricane began to brew. Rain fell and the wind blew until the rising water lifted the little Methodist Church from its foundation and began to carry it like Noah’s ark up the street. People awoke the next morning to witness an amazing sight—the entire church was floating down Oyster Creek Road.
A few good Samaritans saw the drifting church and tried to tie it off with ropes, but it broke its moorings and continued its journey as though it had a mind of its own. It went straight down the road to a corner, bumped into a general store, then took a sharp right turn and headed down that road for about two city blocks until it reached the corner of what is now Church Street. Then it took another turn to the left, crossed the Carawan Canal, and stopped.
The little church had settled exactly in the center of the property the members had originally requested for their house of worship, the parcel Sam Sadler had refused to sell for a church. After seeing the mighty work of Providence, Mr. Sadler, with trembling hands, gave the title deed for the land to the Methodist pastor. When the church was dedicated, it was called “Providence.” Today, a sign stands in front of the Providence Church, reminding visitors this was the church “Moved by the Hand of God.”
Just as God guided that floating church, He guides His people and His church today. “The Lord is your keeper …” (Psalm 121:5). He will carry us through any flood of trouble or persecution that we face.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Psalms 93:4″
By 1881, the church had acquired the lot where the members had originally wanted to build the sanctuary and the little church that God divinely guided to that site inspired the name, “Providence United Methodist Church.” The church’s membership had grown considerably by the 1900’s. In 1913, a brick sanctuary was built to replace the original frame structure.
Today, the small frame church sits behind the modern brick sanctuary of the Providence United Methodist Church on Main Street in Swan Quarter and serves as church classrooms.