THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
An overflow crowd attended a service to mark the opening of a Southern Indiana congregation’s new church, replacing one destroyed in a wave of deadly tornadoes more than a year ago.
The new Marysville Christian Church that opened Sunday replaces a building dating to the 1890s that was ripped apart in the March 2012 tornadoes. The church’s insurance covered much of the rebuilding cost, along with more than $170,000 in donations.
Strangers provided “the lion’s share of those donations,” 80-year old Pauline Cravens, who started attending the church when she was 6, told WDRB-TV.
The church was wrecked in the tornadoes that killed 14 people in Henryville, Marysville and other rural communities in Southern Indiana.
Church elder Ted Hobson said Sunday attendance has grown from around 30 before the tornado to as many as 80 people at services since, which were held in a nearby fire station.
The small town of Marysville hasn’t bounced back as much after the tornado destroyed about a dozen homes.
Four houses have been rebuilt but “I don’t think there’s going to be any more,” Hobson said.
Church member Helen Hunt, who has lived in Marysville for more than 20 years, said that having the church’s old bell ringing from a new steeple sends an important message for the community.
“To have faith,” she said. “No matter what life throws at you, just have faith.”