On Thursday morning, tornado-like winds blew through the Tuscanooga area completely destroying the building that retired Pastor James Madison and his wife Mary Lou called home for 50 years.

Neighbor Mary Helen Myers lives within walking distance of the destroyed home. Her home was OK except for a lot of debris to clean up. 

Ray Robbins, Mary Helen’s dad, donated a corner of his cow pasture (across the road from the church building) to set up the parsonage. The Madisons have called it home since then.

James Madison began as pastor of Tuscanooga Baptist Church in August of 1959.  In November of 1960, a large house had been found in Yalaha, which the church members thought suitable for becoming a church parsonage.  The house was purchased, cut in half, and moved to Tuscanooga, then reassembled.  Pastor Madison officially retired in 2009, however, the church voted to let him and his wife remain in the house for as long as they lived.

Casey Furguson, the current of Pastor of Tuscanooga Baptist Church said the parsonage is a total loss. Teams from the church were able to retrieve most of the Madisons’ valuables and move them to storage. The Madisons are staying with a friend for now. “They are very shaken from the ordeal of being trapped in the bedroom during the storm but are grateful for God’s hand of protection, said Rev. Furguson. “We have not determined what we are going to do at the parsonage site at this point.”

The parsonage and church were both insured. The church will need a new roof and new sidewalk covers. “We are having a workday on Saturday (January 26) to clean up remaining debris in the churchyard and cemetery”, said Rev. Furguson. Raney Construction sent a crane/truck to help with cemetery cleanup.

The church will hold its regular service on Sunday with a lot to be thankful for.

(Photos courtesy of Mary Helen Myers)

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