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Tennessee churches inundated by floods

Middle Tennessee Presbytery, PDA assessing damage, needs

May 4, 2010

Harpeth Presbyterian Church was one of many buildings affected by the floods. —Photo by Greg Breetz

Nashville, Tenn.

Harpeth Presbyterian Church was crawling with members Monday morning (May 3), cleaning up after the nearby Harpeth River overflowed its banks Saturday and Sunday, flooding this historic church in Brentwood, Tenn.

Established in 1811, the historic church built it's current structure in the early 1830’s. It is one of the earliest Presbyterian churches in middle Tennessee.

"We’ll recover," said the Rev. David Jones, pastor of the church. "I'm not sure the building would be here if it weren't for that new levee." The levee was recently installed due to bridgework on Hillsoboro Road which crosses the river, right next to the church.

"We worked all day Saturday as the river rose, sandbagging and moving furniture," said church member Carrie Jones.

A fire-and-water clean-up company worked Sunday pumping out water and was back on Monday setting up huge dryers in the sanctuary.  Meanwhile, members worked removing damaged sheetrock for replacement to prevent mold damage.

Also struggling with water is the Village Church, housed in the Woodland Presbyterian Church in East Nashville. The basement of the building, where The Family Room outreach ministries are housed is under four feet of water.

Other area congregations were flooded at ground-level including Westminster, Glencliff, Hillwood and Second. These congregations cleaned up on Sunday, with several canceling services.

First Presbyterian Church of Nashville lost power but held worship at the regular 11:00 hour, confirming five of their 48-member confirmation class. 

Meanwhile, a First Church-Franklin group of retreaters were stranded but safe at NaCoMe, Middle Tennessee Presbytery's camp. They are having difficulty returning to Franklin because of the many flooded roads between NaCoMe and Franklin.

Middle Tennessee Presbytery Executive Presbyter the Rev. Phil Leftwich spent Monday  morning visiting damaged churches.  He has already applied for two Presbyterian Disaster Assistance grants and expects PDA volunteers on site today (May 4). 

The presbytery has established a fund, "Presbytery of Middle Tennessee Flood Relief." Contributions may be sent to the presbytery at 318 Seaboard Lane, Ste. 205, Franklin, TN 37067. 

Further volunteer opportunities will be organized as the waters recede and the needs emerge.

Janet Tuck is communications director for the Synod of Living Waters and a frequent contributor to Presbyterian News Service.

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