Historic church to be demolished and rebuilt after a tornado

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – For 115 years, the East End United Methodist Church has been located at the corner of Holly and 13th Street in East Nashville. It has hosted thousands of Sunday services, baptisms and weddings. Now the church leaders are getting ready for a funeral.

“Our efforts really revolved around doing whatever we can to save the shrine,” said Reverend Scott Marshall-Kimball, Senior Pastor of East End UMC.

Every architect and engineer told them the same thing; it would be too costly and dangerous to restore. Instead, they have to rebuild completely. “It was just a sad confirmation of the damage that has been done and a reminder of the pain of March 2020,” said Rev. Marshall-Kimball.

It will be replaced by a new structure which will contain many old-fashioned odes. “As many bricks and stones as we can salvage to be part of this new building, as much as possible,” the pastor told NewsChannel 5.

This includes a beloved stained glass window called “The Good Shepherd” which was shattered by the storm. “It was the most damaged window of all, so there were a lot of glass shards, but there were still pieces that could be salvaged,” Rev. Marshall-Kimball said.

But with Dennis Harmon as a stained glass shepherd, they won’t. “Most of that glass you see here and that pile over there was on the floor, draped over the benches, broken,” Harmon said. He is president of Emmanuel Studio, a renowned stained glass shop.

Piece by piece, Emmanuel’s team managed to salvage the broken remains of several windows inside the church, to their former glory, using some of the same techniques used to make the windows 115 years ago. . “Painted and fired on glass, which is a technique that has been the same for almost 1,000 years,” Harmon said.

Harmon and church leaders are still figuring out what the fully restored window will look like, but they know it will somehow pay homage to the tornado. “You want to have some kind of message to tell viewers, look at what I’ve been through,” Harmon said.

Because when you grieve a loss, it’s important to remember it. Then give thanks for new life. “Even when times are tough and tragedies occur, God works in those times,” said Rev. Marshall-Kimball. “There is some relief and some hope in being able to turn a new leaf and start rebuilding here in East Nashville.”

Between FEMA and insurance payments, the church has some of the money it needs to rebuild, but still needs an additional $ 1.5 million to afford it. If you would like to help them with their fundraising campaign, you can donate here.

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