KATHLEEN, Fla. — Mt. Tabor Baptist Church met Sunday, as they do every Sunday, but this time at a different location.
An EF-2 tornado destroyed their mission center and did major damage to their main church building Friday evening. Bethel Church opened its doors to an annex building so Pastor Matt Gilmore could preach to his congregation after a tough weekend.
“So today we are going to worship. We are going to celebrate the fact that no one passed away and there were no fatalities,” said Gilmore as he looked at what is left of his mission center.
The church ran a soup kitchen out of the center that serves nearly 200 people every single week.
But now, his focus was on his worshipers. “Some of you were in the back of the ministry center cleaning out that. Some of you were in the yard raking and picking up debris. I said man the church looks great. The buildings don’t look so good but the church looks great,” said Gilmore.
The pastor used what he knew best to help everyone move forward. “So, I had a different sermon, we are supposed to be in Jonah chapter three today. I thought that wouldn’t be good. We are all pretty wet after the last couple of days.”
Focusing on stories of triumph, in the wake of devastation. "That is the point of Job. That we, no matter the storms we face, can stand strong.”
Saving Sunday for the church, and tackling the tornado problems on Monday.
“Tomorrow I’ll start trying to figure out what to do. A refrigerator truck would solve the short term. We can’t build out here so we are not sure what that looks like moving forward. But my goal, I might not be able to do it this week, but my goal is to be open next week. In some form or fashion,” Gilmore said.
Mt. Tabor Baptist Church gets the food for their soup kitchen from Feeding Tampa Bay and the Florida Baptist children’s home. Both organizations have been alerted to the situation and are working with the church to find a solution.
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