When a 79-year-old woman lost everything due to the deadly Nashville tornado, she still had a reason to thank God.
Bobbie Harris, lost her rental home, job and church due to the tornado in North Nashville, she said, “Through it all, God is good,” Harris said.
She and other members of Mount Bethel Missionary Baptist Church gathered on Sunday to worship near the ruins of the church, there for the last 135 years. The roofs of their two church buildings were ripped away by strong winds early Tuesday.
The church pitched a tent in the parking lot where worshippers gathered to sing, pray and hold hands in what the church called “worship in the rubble.” Even contractors who were busily trying to replace downed power lines paused and took off their hard hats as Pastor Jacques Boyd led the congregation in prayer on the sunny, windy morning.
According to the National Weather Service, six tornadoes hit middle Tennessee during last week’s storms that killed 24 and caused massive damage.
Harris lived only blocks away from the church, where she helped in cooking as well. When the tornado hit her home, the powerful winds grabbed her air conditioning unit and threw it into a fence across the street. Her granddaughter’s car was destroyed.
“God is good. He was the conductor on that train and he went around me,” Harris said. “He saved me.”
Boyd told his congregation that the storm brought everyone closer together in the recovery efforts. Behind him, bits of insulation blew around in the breeze and the wooden beams that once held up the roof of the chapel were exposed. Many homes in the vicinity were still without power Sunday and blue tarps covered roofs nearby. But under the white tent, worshippers smiled as they greeted each other, danced to the music and sang hymns.
Worship in the Rubble service Rev. Dr. Jacques Boyd . We would like to recognize our distinguished guests for participating in worship with us this morning. Governor Bill Lee and his lovely wife Lady Maria Lee, our district councilman Freddie O'Connell and Rev. Dr. Jason R. Curry of Fisk Memorial Chapel-Fisk Univ.
#ToGodBeTheGlory #HelpingWhileHurting #MtBethelStrong #WorshipInTheRubble
2 Corinthians 1:3 #MtBethel1885 #NorthNashville
Posted by Mt. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, March 8, 2020
“Nashville is now primed to show the world what we’re made of,” said Boyd, as the congregation responded “Amen.”
The church, with about 300 members, held before- and after-school care for children, had a gymnasium where kids from the neighborhood could go, put on summer camps for children and provided computer literacy classes for its older congregants.
“We must trust in the savior who does not deliver us from storms, but through storms,” Boyd told the clapping worshippers.
Boyd said that the church is more than just the red brick building behind him. “Now that the brick and mortar is gone, do you still love this community?” he asked as his choir raised their hands and voices in response.
The church will continue to have services inside the tent and he hopes other institutions will help the church continue to provide its community services.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and his wife, Maria, sat in the front row of the folding chairs, shook hands with the church members and bowed their heads in prayer. “There was a lot of hope here,” Lee said. “God uses people like this in this environment to bring hope to this community, and it was great to see.”
Boyd said he asked God for guidance as soon as he saw demolished buildings, “I asked God, ‘What do I say in moments like this?’” Boyd said. “And God spoke clearly, as I am speaking to you now. You have to help while hurting.”
Let us keep our brothers and sisters in Nashville, Tennessee in prayers during this tough time, God is their help and provider, a present help in times of trouble.