The tornadoes that ripped through the state last weekend from Eagle Lake through Yazoo City, Holmes County, and Choctaw County spared the large historic districts in Vicksburg, Yazoo City, and Lexington, but Friday’s Clarion-Ledger reported that at least one historic place was completely destroyed. The sanctuary of Ebenezer Baptist Church, located in the rural community of Ebenezer in Holmes County and reportedly dating to the 1870s, was completely flattened.
I happened to take a black-and-white photo of the church way back in 2001 when film was still the thing.
According to the Clarion-Ledger’s “Trail of Destruction: Survivors recall tornado’s fury“:
My great grandfather was a deacon of this church,” Steven Edwards said, standing in front of the flattened sanctuary of Ebenezer Baptist Church. “There is a lot of family history here.”The tornado cut a deep swath of destruction through this rural community, destroying dozens of homes and killing one resident. The 132-year-old church is a landmark on the road connecting the community with Lexington.
Edwards, following family tradition, is a deacon at the church. He said the congregation had been praying for a spiritual awakening for Ebenezer. This might do it, he said. Fortunately, the storm came along on a Saturday, he said.
If it had been a day later, we would have all been sitting there,” he said, pointing to the rows of pews now holding up a the church’s splintered roof.
The print edition of the C-L has a photo of the destruction, but the online edition doesn’t that I can find. The Kosciusko Star-Herald site has a shot of some of the nice jigsawn work found in the rubble.
Ebenezer–a word I should have known since it’s part of one of my favorite hymns, Come Thou Fount, but didn’t–means “stone of help“:
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I’m come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.