‘Keep the faith’: Arkansas church destroyed by tornado holds service

  • The New Commandment Church of God in Arkansas was destroyed in a tornado
  • Despite the church in shambles, Pastor Eddie Miller held Palm Sunday services
  • Miller: I didn't want the congregation to feel incomplete or hopeless

(NewsNation) — No damage nor destruction, debris nor devastation could intervene with the message and the mission of Pastor Eddie Miller of the New Commandment Church of God in Arkansas.

Miller lost his church in the deadly tornadoes that killed at least 32 people from Arkansas to Delaware.

Despite his sanctuary now in shambles, Miller led a lively Palm Sunday service with a passionate sermon, saying, the church was chosen to send a message of hope and healing.

“I didn’t want the congregation to feel incomplete or hopeless,” Miller said. “Even though we was punched, we didn’t go out. We’re here.”

Miller preached on the porch of what was once his Jacksonville, Arkansas, church. He remained positive, while on the inside of the church, only relics remained.

Miller walked NewsNation through what’s left of 808 Stone Street, crosses still spotted on the wall of the nave, a chandelier dangling from the open ceiling miraculously unharmed.

He told NewsNation he had just paid off the mortgage four weeks ago.

Miller’s church saw the worst of Friday’s EF-3 tornado that ripped through central Arkansas, parts of Little Rock, Jacksonville and when in the eastern portion of the state, obliterated as were many small towns and big cities ravaged by at least 61 tornadoes that spawned across 11 states this weekend.

On Stone Street, a sliver of normalcy on a few days that’s felt like anything but.

“The church is just a building. We the people are the church.” said one churchgoer.

“It’s a perfect example of what our community is like,” said Jacksonville Mayor Jeff Elmore. “People have been coming together through this hardship through this time.”

While it may take years, Miller says he will reconstruct his church on these same grounds in the community that he has been called to serve.

“God planted us here,” he said. “I dare not go anywhere. Yes, we gotta be real right here.”

Watch NewsNation’s Ryan Bass report from the tornado zone in the video player at the top of the page.


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