House of Peace church cleaning up after flood from city water line break

Published 9:36 am Friday, December 8, 2023

The fellowship hall of the House of Peace Worship Church International on Holly Street is now a warehouse with rows of chairs stacked on top of each other and other furniture covering its floor.

Inside the church’s sanctuary, the area those chairs occupied is barren, its carpeting stripped to the concrete floor and a portion of the surrounding wall removed to reveal the studs.

When a 20-inch main water line behind the church broke Nov. 26, utility customers in the center of Vicksburg weren’t the only ones affected. The church was a victim as water from the line entered and flooded the 18,000-square-foot building.

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The damage forced the church to move its services and a Dec. 13 Christmas party to the Gertrude A. Young Jackson Street Community Center on Jackson Street.

“It looks like we’re going to be out a while,” said pastor the Rev. Linda Sweezer-Rowster. “There was a lot of flooding. The whole building was flooded with water.”

Sweezer-Rowster believes most of the water came from the nearby railroad tracks that run by the church.

“When the water came out of that pipe, I think the ditches were all filled with debris and that water came into our building and every room of the building – every closet – is having to go through rehabilitation.”

She said crews from ServPro have been working at the church to clean and restore the building.

Sweezer-Rowster said ServPro representatives called the flooding “a category 3.”

“That means we have to do a lot of extra precautions and right now ServPro is doing that,” she said.

Sweezer-Rowster said church officials have notified church members about the move to the community center. She commended Mayor George Flaggs Jr. for his help allowing the center to hold services there.

“We were homeless,” she said, adding the church at one time held services in the community center.

“The church (building) is almost 23 years old. This is the first time we’ve been homeless since the ministry started,” she said. “We just have a good attitude about it.”



About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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