First Presbyterian Church of Wetumpka Celebrates Easter Amid Tornado Cleanup

Easter Sunday church services were held across the state today, including at First Presbyterian Church in Wetumpka.
That church was heavily damaged during a January tornado.

“Today is the day when we remember the empty tomb,” Pastor Jonathan Yarboro says.

Easter is always the time for traditions, include sunrise services and Easter egg hunts.
For the congregation of FPC of Wetumpka, it’s a time of remembrance.

“We’re reminded that all of God’s promises are real and that God keeps them,” Yarboro says.

“We’ve gone through over the last few months, it really has been a time to just come together as a family,” church member Chris Scott says.

Yarboro says they are still recovering, three months after a tornado completely destroyed the church sanctuary. He says they’ve gone through a period of salvaging what little parts they could. He says it was tough to watch the historic sanctuary being broken down piece by piece.

“Much of the timbers and things out of that were saved for potential reuse,” Yarboro says.

Parts of rescued pieces included two beams that were part of the old sanctuary. Yarboro found a new purpose for them.

“These two pieces of wood sort of called out and I remembered my boy scout knot-tying skills and latched them together and put some chicken wire on them,” Yarboro says “It has served as a wonderful, tangeable reminder to us of how God transforms ugliness into beauty.”

Members placed flowers on the cross before the Sunday morning service. It served as another sign of repurpose and restoration.

“these new flowers on this cross are a chance to remember what we’ve been called to do,” Scott says. “That’s to come together and celebrate and to live life as we can, as best as we can in Jesus name.”

The church has a long ways to go, but members say they haven’t forgotten the real meaning of Easter.

“Life goes on, even through tragedy,” Scott says. “This is a wonderful new time in the life of this church and the life of the community of Wetumpka.”

Yarboro says the church is having architectural plans drawn up. They’ll include plans for a new sanctuary and the church members plan to begin building sometime this summer.

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