After possible tornado rips through Texas church, gospel music fills corridors

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SAN GABRIEL, Texas — Sometimes you sing to keep from crying.

It was a somber Sunday at San Gabriel Christian Church. Among the piles of debris, the sound of Christian gospel music was hummed inside the torn-apart church.

It’s possible that a tornado ripped through San Gabriel, leaving the church in a trail of destruction. But despite the destruction, there is still hope.

The building on County Road 421 houses the oldest congregation in Milam County.

WATCH: Central Texas church somber after possible tornado rips through

“Nobody planned anything,” mumbled Beverly Spyker, her voice crackled in sadness as she helped clean up the rubble. “We just came to church like we would have and wore old clothes because we know there’s been a problem.”

It was a different kind of sermon for Evangelist Billy Cox.

“It’s devastating because the church will be 100 years old in 2024,” he said.

Wet, yet undamaged, was the original pulpit of the congregation, which has been serving the community of San Gabriel for almost a century. 

“The ceiling is gone, the pews will be replaced,” Cox said. “It’s a century of history almost gone.”

Around 100 people go to this church.

“We could have been having services when this happened,” Cox said. “It’s a tremendous blessing.”

According to the National Weather Service, the possible tornado made landfall at around 2 p.m. Saturday.


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“I’m just praising God that nobody was injured and was sitting in the pews when the ceiling collapsed,” said Spyker. 

The floor was covered in wet bibles and damp pews. Historic memories were destroyed.

“In spite of all of this, God is going to bring something really good out of all of this,” Cox said. “We’re just excited to see what it’s going to be.”

While looking at what was left of this historic church, Spyker still sang.

“God is still here,” she said. “We come to meet him here, but he’ll meet us anywhere we are.”

Her voice now gives hope to other congregation members, as they work to find a temporary place to worship.


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