GARLAND South Garland Baptist Church had Wednesday services in the parking lot, and the pastor is still looking for a place to hold worship on Sunday, too.

A storm blew through Tuesday night, damaging their building, but sparing lives.

Wednesday's service started with an acknowledgement that it was a far-from-normal night.

"It's kind of unusual for us to come out here and gather in the parking lot," said one man who was leading church members in prayer.

It had been raining hard all across Dallas County on Wednesday, and dark clouds were building to the west. But as they began to pray on the pavement, the clouds moved on... an indication that this congregation will, too.

"This is a bump in the road; we'll be fine," said longtime member Patti Beadles.

A Tuesday night storm tore down the church's sign and steeple, and ripped huge air conditioners from the roof, leaving holes for rain to seep in.

There's no power. It's hot and it's wet. And it's dark inside the sanctuary. So they held an open-air Wednesday night service.

Workers continued to try and cover holes and begin repairs even as the service was held, and those workers were included in the prayers.

"The gratitude, I think, is overwhelming for our people," said Pastor Larry Davis.

"The walls are still standing," longtime member Jenny Wyatt observed. "It's fixable."

Two church members were inside when the storm hit, and a few dozen youth had just left. No lives were lost and no one was hurt.

It could have been worse, Davis said.

Much worse.

"It's our faith and our spiritual life, but it's family," Beadles noted. "We wouldn't know what to do if we didn't have the church."

The church is insured, but repairs can't be made in time for Sunday services. Davis said they will have to find another place to worship.

He has had several offers of alternative locations, and added he's grateful for the community's support.


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