CHEAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Nearly two years after Mother Nature’s wrath tore through a Chesapeake church, pastors are ready to open their doors.
Cheapeake’s Real Life Christian Church was destroyed when a tornado ripped throught it in March of 2017. Executive Pastor Brett Coates says that day was devastating.
“It was pretty surreal,” said Pastor Coates. “I got a call from the alarm company that said the alarms are going off and the fire system is going off.”
Coates said he rushed to his second home and found that a tornado had ripped right through it.
“When it happened, we didn’t know why it was happening, but we knew it was going to happen for a reason,” Coates said. “(We are) so thankful to be here, so thankful to have gone through what we’ve gone through, because it has changed us for the better.”
Coates said the devastation showed the community that it’s not about the church but the people. “For us, we do see this as a blessing just to kind of change our perspective of what a church really should be,” he said.
Through devastation and loss, this church is now telling the story of triumph.
The church’s auditorium is now filled with 553 seats ready for members and a massive stage for musicians and Pastors. The new church is also home to a new lead pastor, Drew Froese.
“It has been a refining experience,” Froese said. “It was huge for us to remember that we are not about a building but we are about serving others.”
The church is holding it’s first service at 9 a.m. on Sunday at 900 Centerville Parkway North in Chesapeake.