Baptist and Reflector
NASHVILLE — Nashville Baptists were quick to respond in the aftermath of a tornado which struck the offices of the Nashville Baptist Association in the early morning hours of March 3.
The shingled roof was destroyed, leaving a thin sheet of metal covering. Vents, however, were pulled out of the structure, causing extensive water damage, according to Jeff Mims, pastor of Judson Baptist Church, who was at the offices early on Tuesday morning. There was an estimated three inches of water in the upstairs of the two-story building.
“Water damage is the issue here,” he affirmed. “The structure is okay.”
Director of Missions Rusty Sumall was in Atlanta at a meeting of the North American Mission Board when he learned of the tornadic activity. He contacted several of his local leaders who responded at once. “I have great guys here (in the association),” he said.
Mims assisted another NBA pastor Steve Durham of Sunset Hills Baptist Church, Brentwood, in coordinating the efforts at the NBA building while Sumrall returned to Nashville.
Other local pastors and DR volunteers, including some from Judson, also responded. Mims said it was necessary to remove everything from the office building. Items were transferred to rented pods.
The building was expected to be covered up by the end of the day to prevent additional water damage, Sumrall said.
Durham told the Baptist and Reflector, “We are grateful no one was injured with all the heartbreak and loss of life across the Middle Tennessee area. Everything at the NBA can be replaced. Our hearts go to out to the families who lost loved ones.”
Durham was pleased with the response from volunteers. “We have a mess to clean up but it’s fixable,” he observed.
The building probably won’t be usable for months, Mims predicted. The director of missions agreed. He said several churches have offered the association space until the building is renovated but they have not had time to consider the proposals, Sumrall said.
Though Nashville Baptists are saddened by the damage to their building, the association will be fine, Mims affirmed.
As of mid-afternoon on March 3, Sumrall said he knew of only one NBA church that received extensive damage — The Church at Lockeland Springs (formerly Lockeland Baptist Church), now a campus of Brentwood Baptist Church. “The church lost its roof and steeple and had windows destroyed,” Sumrall reported. B&R — Lonnie Wilkey