Ferguson Church Reopens 18 Months After Tornado

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FERGUSON, MO (KTVI)-A Ferguson church gutted by a tornado over a year ago threw a party and invited the neighbors. Nearly 18 months after the Good Friday tornado in April of 2011, church members had more than a new building to share. Theirs was a true story of the triumph of faith over tragedy.  

If it seemed like a miracle for the Ferguson Christian Church youth band to be playing outside their new church, then it was the second such miracle here.

The 30 or so members in the sanctuary the night of the tornado made it into the basement only a minute or two before it building.  No one was hurt.

“The basement ceiling tiles that fell to the floor just had a stench of death.  What I held onto, what I clung to was that God wasn’t finished with us,” said church pastor, Stacy Garner.

“The cross was still there.  There wasn’t a scratch on it.  I find it amazing because it’s just metal and glass.  It should have gone with the rest of the roof, and it was still there,” said church member Lisa Arconati.

As the clean up and restoration crept slowly along, a big part of this story was happening away from this place, in a borrowed church Sunday, after Sunday, after Sunday. Members worshiped at St. Louis Christian College. Pastor Garner kept preaching faith at a time when it was hardest to believe in anything anymore.

“For all of us in this room, it gives us reasons, very important reasons, why we should thank God,” he said during a Mother’s Day 2011 sermon. 

He and church members admitted they did not see this spectacular renovated church coming.  But they always believed they were not alone.

“God keeps his promises.  When god makes a promise, he keeps it.  I knew he would work this out for us,” pastor Garner said. 

After food and fellowship Saturday, they’ll meet for worship in their own church, 10:30 Sunday morning. 

Garner said the church had gone into debt for the repairs and upgrades, but insurance and financial support from other churches covered most the estimated $1.6 million cost.

His church said his church had room to grow. There are about 50 members.  The church seats about 250.

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