‘God Preserved Us’: Tennessee Twister Slams Church with Dozens Inside

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CBN News

Central Tennessee residents and emergency workers are dealing with the aftermath of the devastating weekend storms that killed six people, including a 10-year-old boy and a two-year-old toddler.

The severe weekend storms and tornadoes sent dozens of people to hospitals after damaging buildings, ripping off roofs, turning over vehicles and knocking out power.

Twenty-one total injuries were reported in Nashville, city officials said.

In all, 11 Tennessee counties were affected by Saturday’s tornadoes and severe weather. Weather service teams were out Monday assessing damage.


A tornado struck Montgomery County, north of Nashville, Saturday afternoon, destroying homes and knocking out power to tens of thousands. The weather service office in Nashville said the tornado was on the ground for more than an hour, traveling 43 miles across the county and in Todd and Logan counties in Kentucky. At its widest point, the tornado’s path was 600 yards.

There are 91 structures destroyed based on the latest assessment from EMA. The vast majority of these structures are residential dwellings, the police department said.

One of those buildings was Clarksville’s Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church whose roof was ripped off by the storms and wrapped around a nearby telephone poll, according to WTVF-TV.

“That’s our roof right there,” Wanda Allen, Pastor David’s wife and a Clarksville City Council member said. “When I see that, I say thank You, Lord.”


The outlet reported the church’s sanctuary is a mess. Where the building’s roof once covered the auditorium, now large pieces of drywall and insulation cover the pews, along with water-drenched carpet.

“It’s just—all I can say is wow,” Pastor Allen told WTVF. “Hadn’t figured out where the steeple is.”

“Our church is really not destroyed, that is the building. We are the church. We are the people,” said Allen. “We are a strong community and we will bounce back. We will bounce back.”

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A Clarksville man was putting his son in his car seat when he saw the tornado coming and dashed back inside his home.

“I pulled my son out as fast as I could, we ran inside. My two sons. My wife and I, we jumped in the bathroom and started praying to Jesus,” the man said.

Another tornado that struck the Madison neighborhood just north of Nashville and also raked Hendersonville and Gallatin was an estimated EF2, with winds of 125 mph, the weather service said. Authorities said it tossed one mobile home onto another, killing three people inside the two homes, including a two-year-old boy who was killed along with his mother.

Nashville Pastor Responds to Destroyed Building: ‘God Preserved Us’


The twister slammed into the Community Baptist Church in Nashville with dozens of people inside. The church’s sanctuary and activities building were demolished in the storm. Some members suffered broken bones and legs, but everyone survived.

“Though we have experienced devastation beyond measure, we did not lose life,” the church’s pastor, the Rev. Vincent Johnson said. “God took brick and wood and metal and it was mangled in a tornado … yet God preserved us.”

Meteorologist Scott Unger in Nashua told the Associated Press on Monday, “It’s nothing out of the ordinary for us to have tornadoes this time of year. The environment was just right. We had the warm, moist air coming up from the Gulf. We had the cold air coming down from the north. The two things combine and create the right conditions for us to have tornadoes.”

After touring the damage in Clarksville, Gallatin, Hendersonville, and Madison on Sunday, Gov. Bill Lee told reporters, “Really heartbreaking, but really encouraging,” Lee said. “Everywhere we went we saw volunteers—people from churches and nonprofits. We saw Tennesseans coming into neighborhoods that they didn’t live in and coming alongside.”


To read the full story, visit our content partners at CBN News.

Reprinted with permission from cbn.com. Copyright © 2023 The Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. All rights reserved.

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