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A west Tulsa church reflects on a tornado's destruction 20 years later

Posted at 6:36 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 19:36:49-04

TULSA, OK (KJRH) — It's been 20 years since the strongest winds ever recorded tore through towns like Moore in central Oklahoma. The storm that spawned the Moore tornado moved east, and formed another tornado in west Tulsa.

That tornado leveled Carbondale Assembly of God, leading to nearly two years of rebuilding. Senior Pastor Phil Taylor remembers it clearly; he lived nearby and heard the roar of the storm as it destroyed his church.

"We hear this rush of wind, we can hear glass breaking, and just sound," Taylor said. "It's just this roar and rush, and all of a sudden it felt like all the air was sucked out of the hallway we were in. It was a whoosh, like something rose up. And then it was silent."

Taylor talks about how the tornado went "up the turnpike" going right through the building bridging the sanctuary and the gymnasium. It took nearly two years and $5 million to fully repair.

"We did it debt free," Taylor said. "The people in the church just gave, and sacrificed, and we had money sent to us from strangers we didn't even know."

When the church was finally back in use, it had gained 200 followers, and had to add an extra sermon.

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