Mississippi United Methodists in Path of Destruction


 Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Sr. Communications Specialist

It's hard for Ben Orr to talk about surviving the tornado that touched down in his Tupelo, Mississippi community without becoming emotional. Orr is the secretary for the Tupelo District office of The United Methodist Church. He rode out the storm with his wife and 12 year-old granddaughter in the family's safe place - a bedroom closet. Orr said they armed themselves with pillows and blankets for protection against flying and falling objects, with no fear.

"We had a feeling of peace when we were preparing for it. We knew we were going to be okay it was just unreal no sense of fear at all...I just thank God for the safety we felt while we were in there," he said.

"We didn't hear the freight train sound that everyone talks about but when we started hearing things hit the roof, we realized we were in for damage of some sort... I was amazed when we came out of the closet and saw all of the devastation around us," Orr added.

The long-time Methodist estimates it took the tornado 10 to 15 seconds to force five huge trees onto his home. One tree crushed their two cars. Other trees blocked his street from traffic. Sadly, over a hill less than a quarter of a mile from his home there were three severely damaged churches. One of them was St. Luke UMC where Orr and his wife served as musicians for nearly 20 years.

"We have many good friends at St. Luke," said Orr who shared that two other United Methodist churches in the Tupelo District reported damage following the April 28 storms. They are Oak Grove (Itawamba County) and Mantachie.

Click here to see the news story about the damage to St. Luke UMC and the pastor's interview.   

To share pictures from your April 28 storm damage send them to news@mississippi-umc.org.

To view photos, visit the conference facebook page by clicking here.

How to Help

Messaging from the coordinators of the Mississippi Conference's Disaster Response and the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission will be posted and on the conference website www.mississippi-umc.org and on facebook page.

Click here to read the latest reports and find out how to give.

Photo right: Ben Orr, a United Methodist worker for the Tupelo District office is outside his tornado damaged home.