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Joplin Churches Rebuild - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Churches Rebuild

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Nineteen months after the tornado, we get an update of how two churches are recovering.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, 20 faith based organizations were impacted by the tornado. It's the first time members of Harmony Heights Baptist Church have had a in-house worship service since the tornado. 53 people were inside the church when the tornado hit,  destroying the building and killing of three of its members.

"You know its a miracle that 47 walked or were carried away but uh it uh at the time it was a tragic situation and its still tragic but you know god has his plan its all part of it" says Harmony Heights Baptist Church member Paul Spicer.

As crosses made out of brick from the old building hang in the new Spicer says he's excited to be back at his place of worship, with all new perks and improvements.

"The church was nice that was destroyed but it was an older church it was like from the 60's and this church is a little bit larger as the way it is laid out its everything is modern (you go into the restroom and the light comes on automatically you know everything is up to date and a lot better facility" says Spicer.

As one church door reopens, another plans to do the same.

Members of St. Mary's Catholic Church and School gather to see Bishop James Johnson and Father Justin Monaghan reveal the long awaited plans for their facility.

"Its been a long journey but we are really exited with this stage and hopefully the designs will be completed soon and they we will move we will do a groundbreaking and then hopefully late spring or summer we can start the actual construction at the same time" says Father Monaghan.

The church will relocate to 47 acres of land at 32nd and Central City Road. Father Justin says there are 2 phases for the plans. The first phase includes a church, parish center and school, estimated to cost $13.5 million dollars.  Second phase would add a gymnasium, a parish gathering area and more classrooms, all estimated to cost around $17 million dollars.

"Primary focus next I guess is actually fundraising to see what we can do and how much we can do if we are surprised and can do 2 phases at one time, then praise the lord" says Father Monaghan.

Father Justin does not know how much money St. Mary's has at the moment, but is confident his church will be back up and running like so many others have since the storm. He also estimates it will take two years for the school and church to be completed.

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