Congregation worships on site of destroyed church - - Jackson, MS

Magee, MS 03/29/09

Congregation worships on site of destroyed church

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

MAGEE, MS (WLBT) - Corinth Baptist Church is not even a shell of what it once was.

"All the structure is pretty much destroyed," says Jay Westbrooks, pastor of the church that was leveled by Thursday's EF3 tornado. "We were able to salvage the flags and cross that we had."

"We are saddened but we are not weakened," he added.

The church's walls are completely down, brick is crumbled, and wood is splintered. But what has proven to be stronger than the building is the spirit of the members.

"Very emotional," Kecia Eubanks of Mount Olive said through tears. "This church is committed to being a big family."

Parts of Magee look like nothing short of a battlefield. Downed pine trees line the streets, homes are torn off their foundations. But, undaunted, the people of the Corinth congregation got themselves out of bed Sunday morning, greeted the sunshine, and greeted each other in fellowship, as always.

Pastor Wesbrooks addressed the crowd. 

"Lord, as we have witnessed so many things that seem to be bad, our lives are still here," he said. 

More than 250 people gather at the church on a typical Sunday morning.  And three days after the tornado, it's evident that nature's wrath wasn't quite fierce enough to thin out that number.

Linda Weathersby, who has been attending the chuch for about 12 years, says there was no question her family would attend services. 

"I know our church building is gone, but our church family is still here.  We're gonna be strong in the Lord," said Weathersby. 

"It's very overwhelming, very sad to see what happened. But it's a blessing to see everybody here this morning praising God."

"I feel like our people need to meet here today, for closure, for a time to turn the page, look to the future," Pastor Wesbrooks said. 

The foundation of the church remains, physically and figuratively. Pastor Wesbrooks says the church will rise again, on the same spot, to serve a congregation that won't let go.

"We're gonna look for God to do great things with what has taken place here," said Wesbrooks.

The congregation plans to meet Wednesday to discuss plans to rebuild. 

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