Tornado sends church members to elementary school

by David Dawson/Baptist and Reflector, posted Wednesday, November 22, 2017 (19 days ago)

Tornado damage at The Glade Church included a steeple, sanctuary roof and a portion of its brick structure, prompted worship services to move across the street to an elementary school.
Photo by Lonnie Wilkey/Baptist and Reflector
MT. JULIET, Tenn. (BP) -- A mid-Tennessee church is trekking across the street to an elementary school for worship after sustaining damage from an EF-1 tornado, including a toppled steeple that left a hole in the roof above the sanctuary.

Mark Marshall, pastor of The Glade Church in Mt. Juliet near Nashville, said he is thankful that Gladeville Elementary School is willing to lend its facilities.

"We have a phenomenal relationship with them," Marshall said. "Over the years, this church has built a bridge with them."

The school recently completed a large expansion, including a new gym. "We can seat at least 1,000 in there -- in the bleachers alone," Marshall said.

Via video, Marshall relayed word of Sunday services cancellation after the tornado on Saturday evening, Nov. 16. The storm system crossed several counties; damage at the church included a portion of its brick structure.

"It was just me and the camera," Marshall said of relaying word to the congregation. "We had to make some pretty quick decisions on Saturday night about what we were going to do. And we're still in the process of trying to piece it all back together." Apart from worship services, other events and meetings are still being held at the church.

"If you would have been here Sunday [after the tornado], you'd understand it's pretty miraculous that we are where we are right now," Marshall said. "There were probably at least 150 church members here, working. There were chainsaws, trucks, trailers, bobcats, everything.

"And what we decided to do," Marshall added, "was to let our people concentrate on our neighbors and our community and help them clean up."

The Glade Church was engineered to withstand 90 mph winds but "the winds were somewhere around 100 mph that came through here," Marshall said.

David Dawson writes for the Baptist and Reflector (baptistandreflector.org), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
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