When businesses and public facilities began to reopen after the peak of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans became familiar with the term “new normal.” For several Dawson Springs churches, that phrase has a whole new meaning after December’s EF-4 tornado — and in the middle of Holy Week, it’s still apparent.
For the Dawson Springs Early Baptist Church, that means the four-month anticipation of returning to their beloved building at 101 E. Walnut St. has finally reached its conclusion.
“This Easter Sunday is very special in that we plan to be back at our church for the first time since the tornado blew off its roof and left it in ruins,” Pastor Jeff Winfrey said. . “We are so excited.”
The Primitive Baptist Church has been holding services in the Dawson Springs Elementary School auditorium since Dec. 10.
“We realize that the church is not the building – it is the body of people brought together by their love for Jesus Christ and for each other,” Winfrey explained. “Although our reconstruction is not complete, our recently gutted building is recovering very well.”
“We invite you to share this very special Easter with us,” he said. “Please join us as we worship our risen Lord and Savior this glorious Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m..”
For parishioners of the Resurrection Catholic Church, their new normal continues to be in a temporary place.
“Since our church was destroyed, we have held mass in a small shed – formerly an exercise room – in the back yard of Donnie Mills,” said church member Rhonda Mills, who is also the wife of Donnie. “The Catholic Church of the Resurrection will be holding services each evening, beginning with Maundy Thursday at 8 p.m., Good Friday at 8 p.m., Holy Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday morning we will have Mass at 10 p.m..”
“These will be held at our temporary chapel at 128 Hillcrest Drive,” Mills said. “Our services and family of churches remain the same – only the location has changed.”
At The United Methodist Church at 107 E. Keigan St., changing facilities isn’t the new normal, it’s dealing with loss.
“We will all remember the members of our church who were swept away by the December 10 tornado,” said Wes Ausenbaugh. Two members of the congregation, sisters Marsha Hall and Carole Grisham, lost their lives in the tornado.
“Everyone is welcome to our Easter service,” Ausenbaugh added. “We will be holding our Easter service at 11 a.m. immediately after Sunday school at 10 a.m..”
The First Baptist Church, which served as a distribution center after the tornado and hosted relief organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse and Billy Graham Ministries at 960 Industrial Park Road, fearing new bouts of severe weather and hosting d an acting pastor are the new normal.
“We all get a little anxious on ‘air conditioning’ days, and twice we’ve postponed Awana family home evening,” church member Janet Summers said. “When there is a threat of bad weather, everyone prefers to be sheltered.”
In the aftermath of the storm, former pastor Trent Keeton and his family were instrumental in bringing in relief. However, Keeton has since moved on.
“Pastor Keeton was called to preach in Eastern Kentucky,” Summers said. “Harrell Riley with HR Ministries will fill the chair in April.”
“As we search for a pastor, all services and activities will continue and we invite anyone looking for a church house to join us,” she continued. “The Easter service will start at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, but due to bad weather this week, our Awana Family Night and Egg Hunt has been postponed until the 20th.”
Focusing on strength and resilience is the new normal at Landmark Apostolic Holiness Church. “I feel like this Easter will be different from the past because we’ve been through a great storm – there’s been so much tragedy and loss among us,” Pastor Rusty Akers said. “It really unified and strengthened us as a congregation.”
“Easter is a very important service at Landmark because we believe in the resurrection,” he said of the church at 590 Industrial Park Road. “Our service time is 10:30 a.m. and we will be having an Easter egg hunt for the kids after the service.”
“Everyone is welcome at Landmark,” Akers concluded.
For its inaugural Easter celebration, the Dawson Springs Revival Center located at 402 E. Arcadia Ave. has held services all week and will continue to do so until Easter Sunday.
“We started commemorating Holy Week on Monday at 7 p.m. and will follow the story through Sunday,” Pastor Adam Berry said. “We will have a foot washing and communion on Thursday evening, communion on Sunday morning and a service on Sunday evening at 6 p.m.”
Berry and his wife, Pastor Laura Berry, are streaming the services live due to society’s new normal. “If people can’t come, they can log into Facebook at the Dawson Springs Revival Center and watch it live,” he explained. “On Resurrection Sunday, we will have a service at 10:30 a.m. and we will share the story of the Resurrection.”