'This is where the healing begins': Salado pastor holds Easter service at destroyed church

A tornado did not stop a group of worshippers from celebrating Easter Sunday morning. 

Earlier this week, an EF-3 tornado ripped through Bell County, destroying the First Cedar Valley Baptist Church. Sunday, the pastor decided to still hold Easter service.

"It's not about us. It's about the Lord and what He's done for us and what he will continue doing for us," said Donnie Jackson, pastor of the First Cedar Valley Baptist Church in Salado.

Over 100 people gathered on a slab of concrete in Salado to celebrate Easter Sunday, a location where the church once stood. Tuesday night, the church, along with 75 other buildings in the Bell County area, were destroyed in a 13-mile stretch tornado. 

Less than a week later and thanks to volunteers, the damage and debris was cleared out just in time for Easter service. A service Pastor Jackson knew he still had to have.

"I felt this is where we ought to be because I know that there are some that are hurting and this is where the healing begins, right here," he said.

Pastor Jackson says he is used to a few dozen people showing up to church, but Easter Sunday's not-so-normal service saw triple the amount. The lack of a physical church did not stop people from coming out.

"The church is not the building, we're a body of believers in Christ. And that is a reality, whether there's a structure or not," said Matthew Bush, song leader for First Cedar Valley Baptist Church. 

Pastor Jackson says there is a plan to rebuild the church, but no set timeline. However, he says one thing is for sure and that is that the cross that survived the tornado's damage and stood tall at Easter service will have a spot in the new church.

25 injured, 76 buildings lost due to tornado in Bell County
‘We’re just trusting God to help us’: Pastor of church destroyed by tornado pushes ahead with Easter services
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