Christian Chronicle

Emotions high as Tennessee church floods — again

Rural congregation will seek higher ground after experiencing a second major disaster.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

NUNNELLY, Tenn. — A noisy, industrial-strength fan blew in the back as Pinewood Church of Christ members stepped into their makeshift worship facility Sunday.

Wooden planks — newly erected with help from 15 volunteers from the Brushy Church of Christ in nearby Centerville — framed the rural congregation’s picnic pavilion.

New, maroon “Songs of the Church” hymnals, placed in each white folding chair, replaced old songbooks lost in the historic flooding that hit Middle Tennessee on Aug. 21.

“Can everybody hear me OK?” elder Phillip Bates said as he opened the morning assembly. “We want to welcome you here. It’s kind of different circumstances.”

Randy Deitmen said he didn’t want to be emotional, but he just couldn’t help it.

Related: Showing Jesus: Christians offer physical, spiritual help after historic flooding

The 68-year-old Christian has worshiped with the Pinewood church, which averages Sunday attendance of 60 to 70, since 1974.

More than a decade ago, the congregation — about 60 miles southwest of Nashville — had to rebuild after devastating floods swamped the Volunteer State on May 1-2, 2010. That same storm system produced a tornado that damaged Deitmen’s house.

Then eight days ago, the sudden deluge ravaged the Hickman County congregation’s meeting place once again.

“Sometimes, the older you get, the more it affects you,” Deitmen said of how hard the building’s loss — for the second time — hit him.

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This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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