MAYFIELD, KY — Although the buildings are gone, congregations still meet. First Presbyterian Church and First Christian Church in Mayfield came together for a joint service on Christmas Eve after both churches were destroyed by the tornado.
“I’ve been going to church here for a long time and it’s a great loss,” said First Christian Church member Jim Heath.
Two weeks ago, an EF-4 tornado changed the way both churches will hold services.
“There are so many people who are marking life milestones in this place and in this community,” said First Christian Church pastor Milton West.
Not having a church does not prevent them from worshipping. The two congregations met in the middle of where their churches were. They held their Christmas Eve candlelight service in the parking lot between the two buildings in which they had built so many memories. They not only celebrated Christmas, but said goodbye to the church buildings.
“Beautiful organ and piano just in rubble,” Heath said. “These things happen for a reason, inexplicable, the good Lord knows for sure. But until two weeks ago, one devastating night. The next morning we came down here, my son and I came down here to watch the church, and just a total loss.”
But not everything was destroyed inside.
“One thing we found was the communion table. It was left there a little dirty, but still intact, believe it or not. Not a scratch on it,” Heath said. “The glass in the front wasn’t even broken, so I think there’s a reason for that.”
“It’s a very sacred space for us, but like all good things, you have to say goodbye and carry on with your ministry,” West said.
Both pastors emphasized to their congregations that it is not the building that makes the church but the people inside who are there to worship.