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In tornado’s aftermath, Missouri church mourns members, counts blessings

Blogging from Joplin, Mo.
Erik Tryggestad and I traveled to this southwestern Missouri community this week to report on how Churches of Christ are doing in the aftermath of the May 22 tornado that claimed 151 lives.

A U.S. flag flies amid a tornado-ravaged neighborhood in Joplin, Mo. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

My online-exclusive story from Joplin is now on The Christian Chronicle website:

JOPLIN, MO. – Less than three weeks after an EF-5 tornado cut a six-mile swath through this southwestern Missouri community, the 26th and Connecticut Church of Christ assembled inside its damaged building for the first time.
On Wednesday night, amid boxes of relief supplies and trash bags full of donated clothes, about 65 men, women and children squeezed into salvaged pews arranged in a V-shape in the church foyer.
Church members prayed for the victims. They sang hymns such as “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” “The Church’s One Foundation” and “His Grace Reaches Me.” They exchanged hugs and tears.
As they focused on what was lost in the May 22 storm that claimed 151 lives, including two of the church’s members, the congregation also reflected on what was gained.
“Sometimes, it takes a catastrophic event for people to talk about God and Christ,” elder Doug Douthitt said in his devotional thoughts. “When you talk to your neighbors, tell them how they can have everything — not just the here and now.”

Read the full story.
Be sure to check out the photo essay by Tryggestad (with a few pictures by my son Keaton) and watch the above video by Tryggestad of the 26th and Connecticut church singing “God Is Love” at Wednesday night’s service.
If you missed it, you can read the print story from our July issue on a preacher’s wife who survived the tornado inside a Walmart in Joplin.
Look for more coverage in our next print edition. If you have updates from Joplin or other tornado-ravaged communities, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Filed under: Breaking News News Extras Travel Reports

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