Eclectic church to dedicate new building two years after tornado - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Eclectic church to dedicate new building two years after tornado destroyed the old one

Ramona Thornton is in awe of how far her congregation has come.

"It wasn't one person or 5 but the whole church," said Thornton.

There is still more work to do in the sanctuary at the new Mount Hebron East Baptist Church in Eclectic but for Thornton this is Heaven.

"It's beautiful.. just wonderful," she said.

The tornado destroyed the original building on April 27th almost two years ago, a church built in 1896, one that held more than 100 years of memories.

On that terrible night the community lost 7 people in the storm and that number would have been higher perhaps had 4 members of the church actually made it to the church basement from their homes. They thought the basement at the time would be safer in the storm.

"The weather got so bad and the wind so strong they were forced to turn around and go back," Thornton said.

Thornton says that turned out to be a miracle along with the money to help rebuild. Church leaders say they only had enough insurance to cover only a quarter of the reconstruction. The rest came through donations from the congregation. Thornton admits she misses the old house of worship.

But there's something refreshing she says about starting over.

"In the old church the aisle was only three feet wide but in the new church it will be 6 feet and there'll be enough room for us to hug and greet each other," said Thornton.

The new Mount Hebron East Baptist is slightly larger and the new building comes with a carport. Until the sanctuary is finished, this small congregation of around 60 will hold services for the first time in the new fellowship hall.

Thornton tells us they will officially dedicate their new church on April 28th, one day after the two-year anniversary mark during the 10:30 service that morning.

Church members say they learned two lessons from this experience; don't give up when a tragedy strikes, and nature isn't always so kind.

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