COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Rebuilding parts of a our community. It’s been a long, non stop working year trying to get parts of Columbus back to what it was before that tornado wreaked havoc on the Friendly City.
Sunday afternoon, another glimpse of hope as city leaders and the congregation of the First Pentecostal Church that was destroyed in the storm, meet to commemorate the day that changed lives forever.
It’s a new beginning for the congregation of the First Pentecostal Church in Columbus.
“We’re ready to get into our home and be able to reach people,” said Shawndel Pace.
This is where the church once stood. February 23, 2019, an EF 3 tornado ripped through nearly wiping the church from its foundation, leaving church members heartbroken.
“At first it was like a feeling of misplacement,” said Pace.
A day of sadness a year go, is now transformed into joy.
“This feels like we’re back home. We’re back home is what this feels like,” said Pastor Steve Blaylock.
Plans were unveiled of what the new church is going to look like. Last year Pastor Steve Blaylock told WCBI a baptism service was planned for that Sunday, the day after the tornado struck. That baptism day happened and more people were baptized this Sunday. This baptism meant a whole lot more.
“Baptism is a step of faith and it recognized a new birth and that’s what today means. We’re going to go on. Everything’s being renewed,” said Pastor Blaylock.
Pastor Blaylock says it’s been a tough road, but their faith never wavered.
“The storm didn’t destroy our church it just destroyed the building. We’re stronger
spiritually, we’re stronger individually as people,” said Blaylock.
One thing that kept them strong was the sign church goers say God left them after the storm. The pulpit was left unscathed.
“I will never forget the podium. I still tell people about it. You have to believe that
it’s something bigger,” said Pace.
“I have that podium. We’ve saved it. It’s cleaned up and we’ll use it in the new sanctuary.
It’s a reminder to all of us that God’s doing something new, something fresh. We’re going
to have a new start, a new building,” said Pastor Blaylock.
As soon as the ground is dry enough dirt work will begin. They hope to have the church built within the year.