NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As people celebrated Easter Sunday, churches in Tennessee found ways to keep the faith during a global pandemic.
But for some churches, COVID-19 is just the latest challenge. East End United Methodist Church in East Nashville was devastated by the deadly tornado that tore through the area last month.
"It looks like a mausoleum, it's an empty tomb inside of our beautiful sanctuary," Reverend Judi Hoffman said while standing in the middle of the church. "[The tornado] got progressively worse as it came towards the sanctuary and the bell tower."
On Sunday, piles of debris still sat in the middle of the sanctuary.
"The organ is stacked in pieces here in the middle of the room," Hoffman said.
But while clean-up continued in the week after the storm, COVID-19 spread across the state. In the coming weeks, mass gatherings, including church services, would be canceled. So this Sunday, like many mid-state churches, East End United Methodist Church held its Easter service online.
"We would normally have three services on Easter morning, so we only had one this morning," Hoffman said. "The resurrection message of Easter is yes there’s death, but out of death comes new life. Yes there has been sadness, but out of sadness comes joy."