Lutts, TN (WMC) - It's been over a year since multiple tornadoes ripped through West Tennessee, destroying homes, buildings, and shattering lives on December 23, 2015.
But now, one church congregation celebrated Easter and their own story of rising from the storm.
Lutts United Methodist Church in Wayne County was destroyed by the tornado, leaving only remnants of the church behind.
Easter Sunday brought a new beginning to the church congregation that remains steadfast after the storm.
"The night that tornado hit, the church was still here," pastor Tommy Flood said. "The building was gone, but the church was still here."
The congregation held its first church service inside the walls of their new church building after holding services at the Volunteer Fire Department since the Sunday after the tornado.
Although construction is still in progress, concrete floors decorated with handwritten Bible verses and folding chairs filled with families reflected the new hope and new beginning for a congregation that was picking up the pieces just hours before Christmas in 2015.
"You can take the church building down, but you can't take the spirit of God in the congregation down," Flood said.
The church kicked off the service with members expressing their thanks for what God has done for them, for the congregation members who survived the storm, and for the church itself.
In addition, the church was presented with a gold cross from St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Waynesboro, TN. The gold cross, bearing the Hebrew letters for 'Jesus' in the center, will be placed on the Methodist Church's communion table once the church gets a new one. The Catholic Church said the gift was a symbol of their fellowship and brotherhood with the church.
Members of the Catholic Church arrived after the tornado damage to help the church pick up the debris and sift through the remnants of their church. The church bell, which survived the tornado, now stands outside the church entryway - along with their sign that was found among the rubble.
Although the church celebrated being able to hold service in their new building, Flood said it's more than that.
"We've not only been resurrected from the storm, but we have been given new life through Christ Jesus," Flood said.