Wake County

2 Raleigh churches lose everything in Hurricane Matthew

From left, Yve Moore, Michelle Cobb, and Jeanine Pinder clean up after flooding at Underground Church Worldwide in Raleigh on October 12, 2016.
From left, Yve Moore, Michelle Cobb, and Jeanine Pinder clean up after flooding at Underground Church Worldwide in Raleigh on October 12, 2016. miszler@newsobserver.com

Yve Moore was shocked when she found out Sunday that everything in her church had been destroyed by flooding.

Underground Church Worldwide off of Wake Forest Road houses clothing, food and toiletries for people in need. The church hosts free after-school and summer programs for children and events for single parents. Homeless residents are allowed to use the shower inside.

Heavy rains from Hurricane Matthew drenched the 1,200-square-foot building on Paula Street, where the Experience Christian Church also hosts Sunday services.

“I’m heartbroken,” Moore said. “We’ve been a pillar in that community. To have it all washed away ... we’re asking, ‘God, what do we do?’ 

Members of both churches have spent hours removing carpet and ruined furniture.

Neither church has flood insurance. To rebuild, both are raising money through GoFundMe.

Twenty to 50 people typically attend one of two Underground Church Worldwide services each Sunday. Some of the congregants are people Moore calls “broken” – prostitutes, homeless residents, victims of domestic violence and struggling families.

Some evenings, Moore said, she and other volunteers hand out cards with emergency hotline telephone numbers to people on Hodges Street.

“Part of why I am passionate about the abandoned and rejected is because I was abandoned and rejected,” said Moore, 35. “I want to see to it that the broken are helped and saved.”

Moore said she was born to a cocaine-addicted mother in Chicago and was raised by her grandparents in New Jersey. She grew up caring for her four younger brothers.

When she got pregnant during college, Moore was ashamed and afraid.

“One year, my family was throwing a back-to-school bash, and the next year they were throwing a baby shower,” Moore said. “I felt like I had failed God.”

After going through tough times, including homelessness, Moore moved to Raleigh in 2008. She said she felt called to become a pastor.

Moore founded Underground Church in 2012 and began holding services two years later. She’s determined to move forward after the flooding, which destroyed furniture, technology equipment and musical instruments.

Michelle Cobb, a member of Underground Church, spent time Wednesday cleaning out the church space.

“It means a lot when you have somewhere to go and fellowship together,” Cobb said. “This is sad.”

Moore said she is clinging to her faith.

“It’s mind-boggling and overwhelming,” she said, “but I do know that God has a plan.”

Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler

How to help

To donate to Underground Church Worldwide, go to http://bit.ly/2dfgH5j. To donate to Experience Christian Church, go to http://bit.ly/2eb9jso.