Tupelo houses of worship sustain damage in twister

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was struck by the tornado Monday before it crossed McCullough Boulevard to level First Christian Church.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was struck by the tornado Monday before it crossed McCullough Boulevard to level First Christian Church.

By Riley Manning

Daily Journal

TUPELO – As Monday afternoon’s tornado carved its way through north Tupelo, the storm caused damage at several places of worship.

In the Joyner area, the tornado struck St. Luke United Methodist Church, Temple B’Nai Israel, Parkway Baptist and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

Marc Perler of Temple B’Nai said the damage to the synagogue had not been assessed yet, as civilians were not allowed in the area due to a gas leak caused by the storm. He has heard from others in the congregation that tree limbs have caused some roof damage, but the extent of that damage is unknown.

The Rev. Rick Brooks, pastor of St. Luke, said he had yet to see the storm’s effect on his church firsthand, but was not optimistic.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com St. Luke United Methodist Church also sustained damage before the tornado hit two other churches.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
St. Luke United Methodist Church also sustained damage before the tornado hit two other churches.

“I’ve been told it was hit badly in the front, but who knows about the rest,” Brooks said. “I’ve heard it was hit quite a bit.”

The Rev. David McCain, pastor of neighboring Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, reported multiple trees had fallen on and around his church.

“Our steeple is gone, and there’s lots of roof damage,” he said. “The building next to the fellowship hall is destroyed.”

From there, the tornado skipped across McCullough Boulevard and flattened First Christian Church before curving east to touch St. James.

Pastor of First Christian, the Rev. Sherry Horton, said there was virtually nothing left of the structure.

“It’s just rubble in the parking lot now,” she said. “The congregation is more or less in shock.”

St. James, meanwhile, sustained damage to the roof, gym, Catholic Life Center, and sacristy, as reported by church staff on social media. They said windows in the sanctuary had been shattered, and a tree limb had fallen through the Rev. Lincoln Dall’s office.

Luckily, all of the pastors reported no members of their congregations had been hurt.

“Two things can happen in a tragedy like this,” Horton said. “You can give in and not bounce back, or be bold and step forward in strength and in faith.”

riley.manning@journalinc.com