Waverly church reopens more than six months after deadly tornado

WAVERLY, Va. (WAVY) — Seven months ago, the parishioners of Empowerment Temple Church couldn’t go inside of their sanctuary after a tornado devastated the building. On Sunday afternoon, the entire place was filled with people, love and joy.

“Just a joyous occasion,” said Church First Lady Tanisha Green. “It was something that we had been waiting for for seven months and it was finally here.”

Seven months of waiting and cleanup after a tornado destroyed the roof of the sanctuary and part of the lobby of Empowerment Temple Church. The confirmed EF-1 tornado killed three people, including a 2-year-old boy, and shocked the entire community.

“Never thought it would happen here. In a small town, small community,” Green said.

Photos: Drone 10 above the damage in Waverly

“When I saw the building, my concern was not really about the building. My concern was out toward the families who lost their loved ones,” said Terrence Green, who is the pastor at Empowerment Temple.

Pastor Green and First Lady Green say they’re both grateful for the support of the community and for their faith, which helped them through this difficult

“It’s so amazing how now I’m standing in the church and now it’s been revived and restored,” First Lady Green said.

On Sunday afternoon, the church was filled with joy as people from across the area came together to celebrate the rebuilding of what they’re calling the “prevailing church.”

“Just to be able to bring the community, the people back together to see what God has done. Because there’s no way we could have done it if it were not for him giving us the strength,” said Pastor Green. “It made us stronger as a community.  Because we can’t have unity in the churches without the community.”

That strength and unity gave them the ability to turn a disaster into a positive situation and will keep them moving forward.

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