Tulsa Church Finally Replaces Steeple After Spring Tornado
TULSA, Oklahoma - Central Church of the Nazarene has replaced a nearly 40-year-old steeple that fell during a spring tornado.
The restoration company had to contract a helicopter to lift the 500-pound steeple onto the church. It took several crew members and a lot of planning to make sure everything was ready to go.
Members of the church say they hope this steeple is just the beginning for bringing life back into the church.
"That steeple I didn't think would ever fall, but it sure did,” said church member, Ernie Hartman.
Ernie Hartman has been attending Central Church of the Nazarene since 1975 and worked for a contractor who supplied the steel for the first steeple that was installed in 1981.
"They had it set from the other side on the east side of the building and St. Louis helicopter came down and erected it and put it down,” said Hartman.
The Church's steeple was blown over during a tornado in the middle of the night on May 26th.
Facilities Manager, Brian Lee, says someone saw a photo of it on Facebook and called him right away.
"The steeple itself was kind of old and disintegrated, and the wind just blew it over and it just laid there,” said Facilities Manager Brian Lee.
Since the tornado hit, architects and engineers at Paul Davis Restoration have been working on a plan to fix it.
Project Manager Michael Sullivan and a few other employees were on top of the roof of the church as the helicopter lifted the steeple, then slowly lowered it so they could attach it.
"We have mounting threaded rods that are going to go into the structure and we will secure it back in place,” said Paul Davis Restoration Manager Project Manager, Michael Sullivan.
Interim Pastor Dave McKellips says the church has been going through a lot of uncertainty in the past few months while searching for a new pastor.
“It seems like there’s been a lot of blows and a lot of things knocked down in the church, but now there’s such excitement,” said McKellips. “There’s been a lot of healing, growth, and excitement about the future. Looking forward to a new day with a new pastor coming at the end of October.”
Now that the steeple is in place, members are excited to move forward.
"Whenever I’m talking to members now there’s anticipation and excitement about the rebuilding the walls, restoring of the church and good days ahead for central church,” said McKellips.
Church staff say rain also caused some interior damage after the steeple fell, so they still have a few more projects left to completely recover from the storms.