Jefferson City church celebrates first milestone since May tornado
JEFFERSON CITY - The May 22 tornado damaged buildings all along Ellis Boulevard in Jefferson City, including the Community Christian Church. Since the storm, the church has worked on rebuilding and Sunday afternoon members celebrated their first recovery milestone.
Church members gathered near the back of the church's property to rededicate the columbarium the tornado damaged. A columbarium is a room or building that stores funeral urns.
Members said debris, tree limbs, signs and roofing material slammed into the columbarium's brick walls displacing a heavy granite capstone and moving it out of alignment. Funeral home, Freeman Mortuary, held all of the urns while the church fixed the columbarium.
One church member, Dale Clack, Jr., said he feels at peace with the columbarium restored. Clack said his father's urn is held there.
"It’s really nice to see him finally have a resting place," Clack said. “Whenever we put him back in there, we put him right where the sun is, so he will get to see the sun rise every morning."
Clack said the tornado's damage and following recovery efforts have left behind a message he won't forget.
“To know that the tornado is not the end of everything, it’s the beginning of a rebuilding process and that it's a long road ahead, but we will make it there," Clack said.
Columbarium chair Meryl Atterbery said the church continues to stand strong with God's help.
“It feels wonderful to see it all finished and see people back where they belong," Atterbery said. "It’s like a milestone that we have done this, now we can start working inside the church."
While the columbarium is restored, the church building is still undergoing extensive repairs both inside and outside. In the meantime, Hawthorn Bank has offered its community room for Community Christian Church members to worship and hold various meetings.
Board chair Glen Gessley said he estimates the the church will be fully restored by next summer.