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FBC Fultondale heavily damaged by twistercomment (0)

May 5, 2011

By Julie Moore

The large, white steeple that towered atop First Baptist Church, Fultondale, was found on its side across the street in a resident’s front yard. Glass, twisted metal from the church’s roof and other debris were strewn across the parking lot. Along the Birmingham Baptist Association church’s location of Main Street, entire neighborhoods were destroyed and hardly a tree stood standing.

According to John McGuirk, deacon at First, Fultondale, the April 27 tornado that traveled from Tuscaloosa and wreaked havoc on all it touched, hit the church at approximately 6 p.m. The tornado knocked out the three air conditioners on top of the sanctuary and blew them — along with the church steeple — 100 feet across the road.

The south side of the church suffered the most damage. The roof of the foyer leading to the church office was completely gone. Windows along the south side of the building were blown out, as well as the door to the nursery area. In addition, church offices and the fellowship hall suffered extensive damage.

Two vacant 15-passenger vans in the church parking lot were lifted by the tornado and moved. “One has a big piece of plywood under its front tire … the other has a big piece of metal under the front tires,” McGuirk said. “All the windows are blown out of them.”

Despite the tornado devastation from the day before, the cleanup scene bustled with activity. Church members from First, Fultondale, and other area churches joined together in an effort to pick up the pieces from the destruction.

Church member Traci Orris was there with her daughter to offer assistance by picking up roof shingles, glass and other debris. She has worshipped there for 11 years and stressed the importance of also ministering to the surrounding neighborhoods that were destroyed by the storm.

McGuirk said the congregation has been meeting at Crosspointe Baptist Church, Fultondale, since mid-March. The two churches are looking at the possibility of joining together.

“Both congregations are just gelling,” he reported. “Things are going well.”

Crosspointe pastor Sam Greene is currently serving as interim pastor of First, Fultondale.

Orris said some First, Fultondale, church members have been members their entire lives.  She looked around for a moment to survey the damage as she stood in her church’s sanctuary.

“This is [a] building — this can be fixed,” she said. “Our church is in our heart.”

In other Birmingham Baptist Association storm coverage, Valley View Baptist Church, Leeds, had a tree fall on the parsonage but no significant damage was reported. Chad Hays is the pastor, and his wife and baby were out of the house at the time.

To view a video related to this story, visit the video library.

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