FERGUSON, MO–(KMOX)–Last Good Friday night, the movie “The Passion of the Christ” was playing for a crowd of more than twenty church members, when the tornado struck, and they ran for the basement — just as the roof lifted off the Ferguson Christian Church at North Elizabeth and Royal Avenues.
“It was a miracle no one was hurt,” said Bob Edwards, chairman of the elders , “There were some huge rafters that got thrown down into the auditorium.”
Today, the church, like the neighborhood around it, is still rebuilding. Damage was estimated at $1.5 million at the church complex. This Easter weekend they’ll continue to worship at the St. Louis Christian College nearby, but they hope to move back into their renovated church building in July.
The Good Friday tornado that tore through Ferguson left behind millions of dollars in property damage and a mile long swath of clipped trees.
Mother of five Sara Heinemann and her husband had just put down a contract on a Victorian charmer — a three story frame house in the 300 block of North Elizabeth Avenue, three doors from the church.
“When we arrived that night we saw windows were blown out, trees everywhere,” Heinemann said, “A beam from the church had smashed through the dining room.”
With another Good Friday approaching, Heinemann was working outside with a friend to put fresh white paint on a new front porch railing. From the upstairs window, the sound could be heard of a baby starting to cry.
“We’re just thankful no one was hurt or killed,” Heinemann said, “When you think of Joplin, we’re just thankful.”
Half a block away, roofers with nail guns were on the rooftop of a Cape Cod style home, pop-pop-popping new roof shingles on. This home, one of the last to undergo repairs, had slipped into neglect after the original owner had no insurance. A neighbor ended up buying it for his daughter to live in.
“I think one thing is that you learn patience,” said Ken Schlueter, whose brick home on Royal Avenue needed a new back porch and a slate roof shipped in from Vermont, “Nothing goes fast trying to coordinate the contractors.”
Schlueter’s neighbor Don Chisholm is also getting back to normal this Good Friday week, after an 80-year old tree smacked his roof and cracked the joists.
“Well, I sure got a respect for major storms, that’s for sure,”Chisholm said.