Links to all our coverage of the tornadoes in the South (Updated May 4)
May 4 update: Correspondent Jeremy D. Smith provides a firsthand report from Tuscaloosa, Ala. Churches and ministries are launching disaster relief efforts. Church members are among the dead and injured in a small Alabama town. And one Alabama minister says, “It’s like a bomb went off for a half-mile wide.”
April 30 update: The Bethel Church of Christ building in Athens, Ala., near Huntsville also was wiped out, according to multiple sources. “The 20 people in the basement escaped unharmed,” reader Kimberley Hale Goode said.
April 29 update: We’ve posted a story on our main website about six students who survived the tornado by huddling inside the devastated Central Church of Christ building in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Central Church of Christ building in Tuscaloosa, Ala., was devastated by the swath of tornadoes that killed more than people in the South, according to multiple reports.
A photograph posted by Brendan Chance, youth minister of the College Church of Christ in Enterprise, Ala., shows the debris at the Central church site.
“I’ve got a lot of friends at Central, and they need all the help they can get,” Chance said.
The Christian Chronicle has been unable so far to reach Central church leaders for more details.
Chance said he received this information from Mark Jamieson, brother of Central minister Lee Jamieson: Four Central members are hospitalized with injuries not considered life-threatening, and four church families lost their homes. Mark Jamieson is the pulpit minister of the Franklin Church of Christ in Kentucky.
Shon Smith, minister of the University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, said in a brief telephone interview that residents are having difficulty getting calls in and out. Cable and Internet connections are down, so residents have less information in some cases than those outside Tuscaloosa, as streets are blocked with law enforcement personnel and debris, he said.
“Our church is fine,” Smith said. “Central, I’ve heard the roof was torn off, and I’ve heard it was leveled. I don’t know what the truth is.”
The Central church is a 350-member congregation, according to the latest edition of Churches of Christ in the United States.
Smith said at least one member family of the University church sustained significant property damages.
“So far, everybody I’ve talked to is good,” he said of church members. “Of course, throughout the town, there are parts that are just leveled. We’re just all trying to do our best to figure out how to jump in and help,” he said of the disaster relief effort.”
If you have details on church buildings damaged, members injured or killed and relief efforts, please leave a comment. We’ll update this post as more details become available, so check back often.
FeedbackIt’s unfortunate that a church building was destroyed. It’s insured and can be replaced with an even better structure.
It’s good that the death toll from the storms was as LEAST mentioned in an article that concentrates on a building being destroyed.Mick SmithApril, 28 2011Northside Church of Christ in Hanceville, AL sustained minor roof damage. Several members sustained damage to their homes. No known injuries. Larry Pruitt, PreacherLarry PruittApril, 28 2011Thanks, Larry. Glad to hear that none of your members was injured.Bobby Ross Jr.April, 28 2011I was a member at Central for about 10 years. Talked to my dad last night who attends church at Central. He was at the building yesterday shortly after the tornado. It will be a total loss as you can see from the pictures. There were several college students at the College Center which is located next door to the building and they were unhurt and were pulled from the rubble after the tornado passed.
Please pray for this congregation and its members. I know that they will rise above this but they’ll have a long road ahead of them.NathanApril, 28 2011Bethell church of Christ in East Limestone (Jimmy Clark preacher) was hit .kyle MassengaleApril, 28 2011My dad, Paul M. Tucker, preached at the Central Church when it was at the corner of 6th and 26th Streets (or Avenue). That was long ago, 1948-52, but this church is one that I hold deeply in my heart. I pray for her people, her great work for God, and her transition to a new era of service and devotion.Mark TuckerApril, 28 2011From email from Dean Kelly, minister of the Highland Home Church of Christ in Alabama:
<blockquote>There are so many people hurt and injured in yesterday’s storms. One of our members at Highland Home, a student at the University of Alabama survived the storm, but lost everything. From the best reports that we can get, Peyton Holley, his 2 housemates, one of the boy’s girlfriends, and their two dogs were stuffed into a closet in the house they rented, when the tornado hit them directly. The best we can figure, the tornado actually sucked them out of the closet. The girl and the two dogs were found across the street. They did not survive. Peyton and one of his roommates was found about three houses down from their home. They both had lacerations. One might have had some broken bones, but Peyton apparently, at first report, does not. They have heard that their third roommate survived, but could not find him, so his injuries are not known right now.
We are so thankful that Peyton is ok. He lost everything he had but the clothes on his back, as did so many yesterday. Please remember Peyton in your prayers as he recovers physically, as well as emotionally. Please remember all of those who were injured, lost their possesions, and especially all the families and friends of those who lost their lives.
I know that the Central church in Tuscaloosa was devastated. I am sure others were severely damaged or destroyed in other Alabama cities as well.
I think this will go down as one of the worst storms in Alabama history. We are just so blessed that Peyton, one of our own, survived.</blockquote>Bobby Ross Jr.April, 28 2011C of C Disaster relief and C of C disaster assistance are in route to Central.Brendan ChanceApril, 28 2011Bethel Church of Christ building in Athens, AL on hwy 72 has been destroyed. Victory Harvest Center in B’Ham has been destroyed.Vincent EaganApril, 28 2011My brother, Trae Durden is the college minister at Central. My other brother Caleb, is a college student and he lives in the apartment on the church grounds. Caleb brought some other students who had been in the student center into the church building during the tornado. They got inside the mechanical room and waited and prayed as the building fell down around them. When the tornado passed and the noise stopped they looked up to see there was no longer a roof over their heads. They were able to get out on their own but had to make their way thru all the debris. They were not hurt. They have been working to salvage what they can from the building. Caleb’s car was pushed into the building. They said it looks like a war zone and if you have seen the pictures I’m sure you agree. They are very concerned about the people who live in the homes surrounding the church building. Many of the homes are destroyed and some of the people have not been located yet. My brothers and other church members have been trying to help the people of the neighborhood today. Please continue to pray for the efforts of the rescue and recovery teams. We are very thankful to God that they were spared but there are other families who are hurting now and some who do not know if their loved ones are okay or not. I know Trae and the entire church family appreciates your prayers and concern. Kaysie Durden RouthKaysie Durden RouthApril, 28 2011The Disaster Assistance Mission arrived today around 6PM and started cooking. We will be serving food 10AM – 3PM in the church parking lot. We could use your help with funds to purchase food and supplies. You can donate online at www.disasterassistancecoc.comMike BaumgartnerApril, 28 2011Received this note from Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in Nashville:
<blockquote>The Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort of Nashville, TN is already shipping semi-truck loads of relief supplies to churches in AL, GA, MS, and TN following the devastating tornadoes of this past Wednesday. These efforts will continue in the coming weeks and months. We have also responded previously to tornadoes in MO, NC and VA and flooding in NJ.
We need you to join us in this effort. You can pray for the victims and their families; the churches in the areas that are assisting people with compassion, love, and mercy; and for our staff and volunteers who are working diligently in this effort.
We also need your financial support. Any amount you and/or your congregation can make will bring relief and comfort to many people. You may go to our web site www.disasterreliefeffort.org for more information and how to make a donation. You may also call 1-888-541-2848, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Please pray about this and do what you can do.
If you need more information you may call me at 1-615-476-1777 or the toll free number above.
Sincerely in Christ,
Dwane Casteel</blockquote>Bobby Ross Jr.April, 29 2011The nation and world have all by now heard of the devastation from last week’s storms. Prayers and well wishes we said all the remainder of last week and then especially during services this morning.
My husband and I, as well as his parents, attend North Boulevard church of Christ in Murfreesboro, TN. I believe the elders and deacons are in talks with putting together some type work project or collection for the congregation or affected areas.
A dear friend of mine has a friend putting together items to sent to the city. My husband and I would also like to send whatever we can. We just need some direction in where to send things.
In Christian Love,
Wendi Dawn & Jacob LambWendi Dawn LambMay, 1 2011Ringgold, GA was pretty much wiped out. The Church of Christ was in the midst of the destruction but I don’t know if was destroyed or spared. From what I can learn there was 36 dead and over 80 still missing. If anyone has any information please reply.Howard WatsonMay, 2 2011We are in the ministry of the East Brainerd Church of Christ in Chattanooga. Ringgold is a few miles from here, and I worked there yesterday in disaster relief. The church building looks good, our youth minister’s house (Ringgold resident) fared well. Our pulpit minister, Christ Barnett, had a tree fall on his house and it is not habitable. We are coordinating our relief efforts through Kevin Lee (East Brainerd) and Mike Gurganus (Ringgold’s minister). None of our members was killed, which is amazing considering the absolute destruction this tornado brought. There is an incredible amount of property loss. It is just very sad to comprehend that every possession was immediately taken. We were glad to see some brothers from Germantown Church of Christ yesterday, ready to do whatever. We still have 10,000 residents without power, so we’re concentrating on providing meals displaced and workers. It will take a lot of time to clean this up, but with God’s help we’ll emerge as a stronger, more faithful community.Susan MellorMay, 4 2011