COLUMBUS, Miss. — His church was destroyed on Saturday, but Steve Blaylock is still hopeful.
A tornado demolished the First Pentecostal Church of Columbus in Mississippi, where Blaylock is the pastor. The roof was blown off and the church now has no walls, but the pews are still intact. Blaylock said no one was in the church when the storm hit.
The National Weather Service said nine tornadoes were reported Saturday night in a system that also sent heavy rain and raging winds across Alabama, northwestern Georgia and Mississippi. One person died as a result of a tornado that touched down in Columbus, Mississippi. The tornado in Columbus and Burnsville also left eleven other people injured, damaged homes, uprooted trees and ripped the roof off a trailer and tin shed, according to CNN affiliate WTVA-TV.
“I don’t know what God’s plan is, I always know it’s gonna work together for our good,” Blaylock said Sunday morning as his congregation met outside of the rubble for a baptism service that brought the 61-year-old pastor to tears.
A total of nine people were baptized Sunday morning during the outdoor service with folding chairs and a borrowed baptism tank. Blaylock guessed around 100 people showed up.
“I’m so humbled by the help and support,” he told CNN Sunday.
Blaylock also said he’s about five years from retirement, but says there’s “no room to retire now” that the church needs to be rebuilt.
“Rebuilding is definitely in the future,” he said. “It’s just a building, our church is the people.”