Greenville church holds services at high school after building damaged in storm

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The congregation at Highland Terrace Baptist Church in Greenville had their first Sunday services since Wednesday's storm destroyed their church.

Because of the damage, church members gathered instead in Greenville High School's auditorium.

The storms ripped off portions of the church's roof, leaving a lot of debris in and around the building.

The National Weather Service later determined it was straight line winds -- around 85 miles an hour -- that caused the destruction.

Church members moved forward with Sunday's service.

Even in the hours after the storm, church officials were committed to finding a backup space to hold Sunday services to show their church is more than just a building.

It's not the normal church setting they're used to, but members of Highland Terrace Baptist Church packed the auditorium at Greenville High School on Sunday.

 “We're going to rise up and build. This storm might have damaged our church buildings, but not caused any damage to our church, because our church is the people,” Executive Pastor Frank Teat said.

Church leaders canceled services just before storms whipped through the area Wednesday, but by then, some people were already at the church, which was heavily damaged.

“Not one person injured, and we really felt blessed, as odd as it seems. But human life cannot be restored. But buildings can be reconstructed, we can rebuild them,” Deacon Byron Burk said.

The community has stepped in to help, with other churches in the area and across Texas making large donations.

Greenville High School offered up space every Sunday for as long as it's needed.

Along with cleaning up the damage at their own church, the congregation has been doing a donation drive all week to give away cleaning supplies and other needed items to help others around town clean up their storm damage.

“We had one of our own church families, their house was destroyed by a lightning strike, and our church has gathered around them and going to help them rebuild their house, as well as our church home at the same time,” Teat added.

Coming together in a time of need.

“Just a reminder that we the people are the church and that's just a place where we meet together, and just thankful that again - no one was injured, and that we are able to come together like we did today here,” church member Renee Layman said.

Meanwhile, church officials say they don't have a damage estimate yet on how much everything will cost to fix, and there's no timeline on when the repairs will be finished.

In the meantime, services will continue to be at Greenville High School.