An Arlington church that sustained millions of dollars in damage in the 2012 tornado outbreak is holding its first Easter services in the rebuilt church.
A tornado hit St. Barnabas United Methodist Church on April 3, 2012, causing $3.5 million in damage.
The transformation started almost immediately, and the church reopened in September. Congregants have been worshiping in their new sanctuary and enjoying their updated multipurpose room, which is will host a pancake breakfast Saturday morning.
"This is really something that helped change our perspective a little bit and show that God works out of any circumstances, whether they're good or bad," said Mike Rodden, associate pastor. "There's always hope. There's always something God is doing to bring us closer."
Those who were here at St. Barnabas during the tornado said they will never forget the fear and the destruction.
"I think of it often during these days," church secretary Linda Wilson said.
But the memories of what went wrong will never trump the memory of what went right.
No one was injured, Wilson said. There were a "lot of frayed nerves, but not a single scratch."
"It's amazing," Rodden said. "There was something that was protecting all of us that day, and we were just blessed to get through without anybody hurt."
Wilson said she remembers being in the library getting ready to eat lunch with colleagues. It looked a little stormy, but she didn't know a tornado was coming until she heard the sirens. She and others headed to a closet.
"Of course, all of our alarms were going off, and we could smell gas, and it had picked the roof up off the other building, so gas lines on this building, two gas lines, were broken," she said.
"I know it was a scary situation for some of the kids,&rdqquotuo; Rodden said. "One of the kids told his parents afterwards he walked on water that day, and that's because we had water on the floors."