CULLMAN, Ala. (WIAT) — When tragedy strikes in small communities, the church will oftentimes operate as a place of peace and safety. But for the members of East Side Baptist Church in Cullman, after April 27th, 2011, there was no church to go to.

Pastor of Outreach, Sam Hollis says 17 members of the congregation were in the building when an EF-4 tornado tracked through the city and slammed into the church. They all survived.

The congregation came together to start cleaning up. That process became a source of inspiration. People from around the community wanted to help the church. And when it was time to rebuild, members wanted a safer church so they built a safe room.

Even without the safe room, the brand new pews, and the piano, this new facility is not what’s most important to the congregation says Hollis, “The building is very important to the ministry of the church, but it was an experience for us to see that the church is the people.”

The new East Side Baptist was built just two blocks away from the former site. For two years after the storm Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church opened its doors to the East Side congregation. Community members, other churches, and the state Baptist Association helped the church raise a lot of the money needed to rebuild.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News