NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The only part of the East End United Methodist Church on Holly Street in East Nashville still standing are the stairs leading up to what used to be the main entrance.

The church was badly damaged in the March 2020 tornado. Members tried everything to save the original sanctuary of the 115-year-old church, but they discovered it would have been too expensive and dangerous, considering it was no longer structurally sound.

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A church committee voted to rebuild in the same location, and for months crews have been demolishing the parts of the building that withstood the storm. By Thursday, July 14, the demolition was nearly complete.

“We were able to move forward with trying to do a new plan for new construction; a building that does honor what was here before, but also significantly upgrades the accessibility of the building and just makes us take advantage of some of the advances in construction that have happened in the last century,” the Rev. Scott Marshall-Kimball, the East End United Methodist Church pastor, said.

The new building will closely resemble the old; however, the design must be presented to the Metro Historic Zoning Commission for approval, which will likely happen in August, according to Marshall-Kimball.

Once approved and the church receives its funding from insurance and FEMA, crews can begin rebuilding the structure on Holly Street.

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“This church means a lot to the congregation, and it’s been their home for a really long time, but it’s also been a vital and wonderful piece of the community that just makes people’s days and lives better for its existence, so that’s why we decided we really needed to be here at home on the corner of 13th and Holly Street,” Marshall-Kimball said.

If all goes according to plan, he added, the church will reopen Christmas 2023.