Crowe Springs church set to rebuild five months after tornado
by Amanda Stegall
Sep 18, 2011 | 3134 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those attending the ground breaking ceremony form a circle around the building plans, holding hands and praying for the construction to go smoothly.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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After months of agonizing wait, the Crowe Springs Baptist Church family and friends broke ground for the foundation of a new building Saturday morning.

"In the storm, you see what's around you," Associational Missionary for the Bartow Baptist Association David Franklin said. "But God has a different perspective."

Reminders of the April 27 tornado linger in the hard-hit area with trees folded over and forever deformed. Yet, across the street from the community church houses that were demolished are being rebuilt, many now include basements where the older homes did not.

Although the church is being rebuilt in the same location, deacon and member of the building committee William "Buck" White said that the building will be constructed in a slightly different position.

"We're moving more toward the top of the hill because of flood plain issues," he said. "I've been coming here all my life and the appearance of the area is not the same."

White said that plans were developed for the new sanctuary and tabernacle over a three-month time span.

While cleaning up from the tornado's destruction, a few surprises were unveiled to the church members and volunteers. The original stone steps from the 1865 building were uncovered, fully intact. Also, a wooden beam, clearly formed with an axe as seen by the shape and rivets, was discovered. White said the church plans to include these two gems within the construction model for the new building in some form.

"I think we may have a garden memorial-type area with a flag pole near the steps and the beam will go in the tabernacle. Both will have a plaque with them telling what it is, the date of the tornado and other things," he said. "All that could change but we do want to include the steps and beam in some way."

This inclusion follows what Pastor Ronnie Cowart says is a combination of the old and new.

"This day marks a new beginning for the church," Cowart said. "We're moving forward and the prayers from our brothers and sisters in Christ help us [to do that]."

The church not only lost the sanctuary to the disaster, but also the community-use tabernacle.

"The tabernacle was where we had joint revivals," Cowart said. "So we're not just building the church back, but also the tabernacle for everyone, not just ourselves."

Forming a circle around the plans, church members and friends joined hands and prayed for the plans to go forward smoothly and for all who will be working to turn the project from a 1-D blueprint into a 3-D reality.

Cowart, while welcoming volunteers to help with the rebuilding, sent a request toward heaven for all who come forward to help. "May this project be spirit-filled so that all who come by here can see that there's something here you won't find out in the world," he prayed.

Donations may be sent to the church or to the Bartow Baptist Association to help fund material and construction cost. However, Cowart asks that those willing to help wait to do so until the church's building committee can assess how much they already have from the insurance company and previous donations to gain a better knowledge on what is still needed from a financial or donation standpoint.

Volunteers have already come forward to the BBA and their own local churches to offer assistance in rebuilding Crowe Springs Baptist. All others wishing to help are encouraged to speak to their local church or the BBA, which can be contacted at 770-607-0300.

"We want to go about this in an organized manner," Franklin said. "That way, when volunteers come out, there will be something specific for them to do. For example, this team from this church can work on this wall, etc."