172-year-old church in Wren is demolished in storms

WREN, Miss (WCBI)-Community members in Wren picked up the pieces of a staple in their community.

Tranquil United Methodist Church was built in 1847.

Over the church’s lifetime, it has suffered many tragedies but has continued to stand the test of time.

WCBI talked with members about the importance of this landmark and how they plan to pick up the pieces once again.

Tranquil’s Church service looked a lot different this Sunday.

After Friday Night’s storms, the little white church house, built over 172 years ago was completely demolished…

but this isn’t the first time the Church has been hit by tragedy.

In its time it has suffered a fire and this is the second tornado.

Lauren Gillentine King grew up going to Tranquil every Sunday.

She says it is devastating to see it in ruble but says it’s the community that makes the church and not the building.

” It’s kind of amazing. there has been a church here since the 1840s and if I am not wrong this is the third building on this site every time they pick up the pieces the communities faith is what holds it together, ” said Gillentine.

Katie Morgan Oliver’s 89-year-old Grandmother and 9-year-old daughter AveriKate are members of the church

She says Tranquil has served as a community home for many generations in Wren.

” It’s the people who have rallied around this church for many many generations. It’s the community hub for lack of better things to say. You know if you didn’t have a meeting place Tranquile’s doors were always open and the tables were always set,” said Oliver.

In 1950, a stained glass window with a cross was put in the front of the building.

Music Director Ricky Gillentine says this not only served as a landmark to people who were traveling down Highway 45

but a reminder their doors are always open.

” The doors were never closed. People would stop coming in and pray and go on. As I said we’ve had people from all over the world come in and sign our registry book and tell us how much they appreciated the doors being open,” said Ricky Gillentine.

While the congregation’s numbers have dwindled over the years, Pastor Dr. Raymond Rooney is hopeful for the future of Tranquile.

” This morning when we met in one of our member’s shops I told them to cherish and hold on to the memories. Trade pictures from the church from before this happened. It will always be there but God has something new for us that we are looking forward to. We are devastated but we are looking forward,” Roomey.

Though their faith has been tested, members still gathered together to pray and remember what was and what is to come.

Plans moving forward are still in the air but Pastor Romney says they definitely plan to rebuild and salvage anything they can.

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