By Baptist and Reflector Staff
Editor’s note: This story was updated March 6. Additional tornado stories will be added to the website under Tennessee news as they become available.
(Updated 11:50 am) Even as damage is being assessed, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief (TBDR) teams are responding in the wake of a devastating EF-3 tornado that ripped through Nashville and traveled across Middle Tennessee as far as Cookeville today in the early morning hours, killing at least 22.
“We have local teams that have already gotten out and are trying to help people in Nashville and the surrounding area,” said Wes Jones, “Meanwhile we are working with emergency management services to better understand where we can deploy resources.”
Jones said that several people have contacted the TBDR offices asking how they can help. He said team callouts will be coming soon, but right now the best way to help in the effort is financially. Giving can be made directly to TBDR through tndisasterrelief Any gifts given today will go directly to “Tennessee Storms.”
The death toll has jumped to 22 as of 11:30 am Central, with 16 of those deaths reported in Putnam Country. Davidson, Wilson and Benton Counties are also reporting deaths. At least one former church staff member at a Tennessee Baptist church is among that total, with more details regarding that death coming in an update.
Damage in Nashville is extensive, with authorities reporting 48 buildings collapsed, 156 people were transported to area hospitals and more than 400 calls were made to emergency services. Both the Nashville and Putnam County Fire Departments are going door to door searching for survivors and victims. Authorities are saying the EF-3 tornado had winds of between in excess of 150 mph.
Several Tennessee Baptist churches were damaged, including The Church at Lockeland Springs, Nashville. The church is one of Brentwood Baptist’s campuses. Mike Glenn, senior pastor at Brentwood Baptist, sent a message to members on Monday. The message noted that there had been severe damage to The Church at Lockland Springs, and said that significant portions of the roof had been torn off. Also, the top of the historic tower had fallen, and big trees in the courtyard were blown over. Glenn reported that campus pastor David Hannah, his family, and the rest of our Lockeland team are fine. Glenn also said: “We have been checking on our members who attend at the Lockeland Springs campus, and so far, everyone is safe and accounted for.”
On Friday, March 6, The Church at Lockeland Springs announced it will hold a tent-covered worship service in the courtyard this Sunday, March 8, at 10:30 a.m. The Church at Lockeland Springs is welcoming all to gather for a time of reflection, comfort, and encouragement.
Pastor David Hannah said, “Our church building has suffered pretty severe damage, but we will be okay. It’s bricks and mortar; it will be fixed. Right now, our focus is on the community and the people.We are grateful for those who came to cut trees, distribute water, cook food, hang tarps, and more. We will be okay. God is still on the throne.”
For ways you can get involved in the disaster relief efforts for The Church at Lockeland Springs and other areas affected in Middle Tennessee, please visit BrentwoodBaptist.com/disasterresponse.
Other churches who suffered damage included:
- First Baptist Church, Mt. Juliet
- Washington Avenue Baptist Church, Cookeville
- Green Hill Church, Mt. Juliet
- Fairview Church, Lebanon
- West Hills Baptist Church, Lebanon
- The Nashville Baptist Association office sustained damage as the tornado passed in its immediate area.
Governor Bill Lee said in his press conference this morning that this was a Level 3 emergency and federal help is also being sought to assist in the aftermath.
“This is a rapidly developing situation and we will continue to post updates as more information is made available,” Jones said.
To share updates on TBC churches that sustained damaged, please email LWilkey@tnbaptist.org
For more information, visit the tndisasterrelief.org website and BaptistandReflector.org.