Iconic church nearly destroyed by Nashville tornado

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EAST NASHVILLE, Tenn. — An iconic East Nashville church is nearly destroyed by Tuesday’s tornado, but it certainly hasn’t stopped their faith. They expect to rebuild stronger than ever before.

“God promises that no matter what happens, no matter the worse thing, God says I can work with that,” preaches Pastor Judi Hoffman of East End United Methodist Church, “When something is leveled to the ground God rebuilds it, but it is never the same as it was. It’s always better.”

East End United Methodist Church was decimated by the tornado. Hoffman was inside her home on the property when the twister came through.

“We ran for the bathroom, and into the tub stepping on glass all the way,” Hoffman tells, “I was being embraced by my husband, and we were crying.”

The next morning the tears only continued when the daylight revealed the devastation of the church. Its iconic steeple was gone, and their organ was smashed when the structure above it came down inside the church.

“Our music director imagines a cross being made out of pieces of the organ,” Hoffman describes.

The majority of the church’s stained glass windows remain intake, except the large decorative one near the entrance to the church.

“Largest window that’s not there depicted the good shepherd Jesus,” Hoffman says pointing toward the smashed hole in her church.

The large stained glass Jesus shattered into tiny pieces. They will be giving out the pieces this Sunday during holy communion.

“So each person has a piece of the body of Christ,” Hoffman smiles.

The structure of the building is in question, with various walls and areas unstable. The side of the building remains a heap of brick. The building was purchased in 1907 and was picked because it was the highest point in East Nashville. Back then, followers put items into a time capsule and buried it inside a stone corner piece of the building. That spot was destroyed, but the stone piece itself and time capsule remain intact. Once they are able to finally congregate together, Hoffman says they will open the capsule for the first time.

The church will be available for service Sunday but will be doing so in a park space on the property.

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