East Nashville church destroyed by tornado faces challenge of rebuilding during COVID-19 pandemic

Nashville Tornado

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nearly five months after a large tornado ripped through the area, homes are still covered in tarps, and damage still very visible. That rings true for the historic East End United Methodist Church. The building, which stood tall since 1905, took a direct hit on the night of March 3.

Trustee Chair, Daniel Foster said the building may have served a greater purpose than ever imagined. “We’re really thankful that if that’s what we were meant to be on the hill for, is to save other people, then the church is doing its job.”

But the tornado hasn’t been the only challenge facing the church. “It is difficult to not be able to see your community of faith during a rebuild, during a pandemic, and during a pastor change,” said Foster.

While there is a long way to go for the church’s restoration, this time has given the community a chance to extend their love and support for a new pastor.

Pastor Scott Marshall-Kimball was placed at East End UMC after the tornado.

“This is more of a meaningful church building than I’ve even been around. And I think probably because it’s felt like a safe place for folks that haven’t felt safe in church a lot,” said Pastor Scott.

East End pivoted to virtual services and continued through the pandemic.

“We couldn’t use our building right now if we had a building so it’s not something we’re alone in,” said Pastor Scott.

Construction on the church will likely start in 2021 and should take 12 to 14 months to complete.

Even though it may not be in the same structure for a while, Pastor Scott believes the most important thing was bringing people back together. He hopes a satellite location can deliver comfort in community for his congregation.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of Super Tuesday tornado rebuilding and recovery.

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