April 29 update
A second United Methodist church suffered major damage as tornadoes and other large storms moved east across the United States, randomly wreaking havoc and causing more deaths.
Photo by Amy Forbus, Arkansas Conference UMC
St. Luke United Methodist Church was among a handful of places of worship in Tupelo, Miss., to get clobbered by a tornado on Monday, April 28. On Sunday evening, April 27, a tornado that swept through Vilonia, Ark., near Little Rock, destroyed the buildings of Vilonia United Methodist Church, as well as mny homes and businesses.
Bishop Gary Mueller of the Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference toured the devastation in Vilonia on Tuesday, including the church. He earlier released a video, updating conference members on the extent of the damage and outlining relief efforts.
He noted that many had contacted the conference already, wanting to know how to help. "I'm so grateful for your overwhelming support," he said.
Deadly tornadoes that swept through the upper South and Midwest April 27 had United Methodists, among others, assessing damage and preparing to offer relief.
By the next day, at least 15 deaths in Arkansas alone had been blamed on a fierce tornado that cut through 80 miles of suburban Little Rock, Ark., with the towns of Vilonia and Mayflower particularly hard hit.
Rescue workers were still searching for survivors in Vilonia, where many homes and buildings were destroyed, including a $14 million public school set to open this fall.
Vilonia United Methodist Church, northeast of Little Rock, suffered massive damage to its buildings, the officials of the denomination’s Arkansas Annual (regional) Conference reported.
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