First Presbyterian Church destroyed, pastor reflects

First Presbyterian Church destroyed, pastor reflects

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Nearly a day after First Presbyterian Church in Wetumpka, Alabama, was damaged by an EF-2 tornado, the church’s pastor, Jonathan Yarboro, met with his congregation.

On Sunday morning, the congregation, along with Pastor Yarboro, gathered at Wetumpka Depot Players for an early morning service. There, they hugged, cried and talked about future plans for the church.

This is historic First Presbyterian Church of Wetumpka before and after today's storm. The mayor said it was the most painted building in Wetumpka.
This is historic First Presbyterian Church of Wetumpka before and after today's storm. The mayor said it was the most painted building in Wetumpka.

“There is no... there are no words for this," Yarboro said. “When something is gone, it’s gone. That’s all there is to it. The church is gone.”

Yarboro wasn’t in Wetumpka at home during the storm, but his eldest daughter, Stanton, was.

“We live in the house right back that way that was also hit. My oldest daughter was at home by herself," Yarboro said.

Stanton hid in the bathroom for cover, but according to Yarboro, a tree crashed through the roof nearly missing his daughter by three feet.

“It was scary but I’m alive and walking," Stanton Yarboro said.

Yarboro said his daughter’s safety and the safety of those in the path of the tornado was all that mattered.

“Yeah, we love the building, and that’s a special place, but that’s not what makes it the church," Yarboro said.

According to Yarboro, it’s the people that make the church, not the building itself.

While looking through the rubble, a volunteer found a sign with the church’s address on it. Yarboro was thrilled by this discovery.

“It’s kind of a good visual image of kind of what we are right now. We’re beaten up and battered a little bit, but we’re still here," Yarboro said.

He hopes to rebuild the church in the near future, and said he will hang that sign up in the new church as a memory of the once standing white church, loved by so many.

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