Church damaged in Portland tornado holds first service since storm

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First Congregational Church, Portland.

PORTLAND, Mich. — A church damaged in the Portland tornado last June conducted its first Sunday service since that storm.

The First Congregational Church reopened for its service Sunday morning at 10.

“It’s just an inspiration, it’s just brought the whole community of Portland together,” said William Hoffman, chairman for the church’s board of trustees.

Hoffman said the church is bigger and more beautiful than it was before the storm, made possible through $1.5 million worth of repairs paid through insurance and donations.

“Not only has it brought the church closer together, but it’s brought people from even far away as California who’ve sent their wishes and donations,” Hoffman said.

Marilyn Danielson, the church’s pastor, said the unexpected storm turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“When the demolition crew came in and when they hit the beams of the church to take the church down the rest of the way, they said there was nothing holding the floors up in this church,” Danielson said.

“Those beams were more 160 years old, and to realize there was nothing holding the floors up, that was an eye opener for me. That was a turning point from being devastated to rejoicing.”

The church was one of many damaged in the EF1 tornado. While many Portland buildings were damaged, no one was hurt in the storm.

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