CLEVELAND (WJW) – The historic church in Cleveland that was struck by an EF-1 Tornado continues to make progress toward its efforts to rebuild and restore services to the community.

“When the winds blew against our house, say our house, [our house,] guess what, it did not fall,” Kellie Sullivan, a pastor at New Life at Calvary, said during the second Sunday service since the tornado on Aug. 24. “Why did it not fall? Because it’s been founded on the rock of Jesus Christ.”

Sullivan spoke with a great amount of optimism in her voice because efforts to make the building safe have been deemed a success.

“Anchors are in place; the temporary roof is on top of the fellowship hall. They’ve taken down that very heavy spire of the sanctuary, so there’s no danger there,” she explained. “And so now we’re just waiting for information on what we can do next.”

Now she and her congregation can worship inside the walls of the church, with one caveat.

“We were approved to be in the gym, so we are so glad and thankful to be able to be able to worship in this space,” she said.

WJW photo

Sullivan said the efforts to rebuild are moving through a four-part plan that’s currently in the mitigation phase, where inspectors are checking the structure top to bottom for issues caused by the tornado.

A temporary roof has been placed over the gaping hole created by the natural disaster, a giant step toward eventually returning worship to fellowship hall. 

The total estimated cost to repair the church is somewhere in the range of $4 million, according to Sullivan. The church has insurance and most of the repairs are expected to be covered by that policy, but the church is actively fundraising to cover everything that’s not covered by insurance.

“The reality is right now we need financial support,” Sullivan said. “We want to bring this building back to it’s glory, we want to be able to continue to serve this community.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been started by the church. It is also accepting direct donations through Cash App: $2NLAC.