Church Carries on After Tornado Damage

NEWTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Singing hymns this Sunday inside Countryside Community Church near Clarks Summit while outside, the signs of the wicked weather that made a direct hit on this house of worship just days before.

"It was scary, honestly, because this is like our home, so it was just hearing that someplace that you love was damaged," said Norah Rickaby.

Church officials weren't sure if they would be able to have their Sunday service. But engineers gave the ok and allowed worshippers to gather for Sunday services.

While much of the damage is visible, some spots are more difficult to see.

"The inside wall that separates the reception area from the sanctuary that wall will have to be replaced," said Keith Eckel.

A wall was heavily damaged during the storm, shifting entirely and creating large cracks. Heating and cooling units were also lost. Despite these challenges, the church is moving full steam ahead on repairs.

"Our trustees are up meeting right now about what kind of contractor we might need to do the professional work to restore the church to where it needs to be," said Pastor Mark Terwilliger.

Although there are repairs that still need to be made to the Countryside Community Church, the congregation says it's the people who make up the church, not the building.

"Yesterday, 76 people came here and worked to get the church to the point where we could host people today," Eckel said.

And while the Countryhouse Community Church is still a work in progress, the faithful say this unfortunate event has made them grateful for what they have.

"It really just helped us to be so thankful for our church family and thankful that God blessed us in so many ways this Sunday and throughout this week," said Rickaby.

The congregation wants to thank everyone for the support they have received this week including the surrounding churches for offering their worship spaces if needed.

The hope is to begin work as soon as possible to make those repairs to the church.

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