- Cullman, Alabama


May 2, 2012

Stained glass windows of tornado damaged church replaced

CULLMAN — In the quiet stillness of a weekday morning, with the sun pouring through the stained glass in the sanctuary of Cullman’s First United Methodist Church, you would never know that this place was left in a shambles from a mighty rushing wind on April 27, 2011.

The church, some parts of which are over a century old, just finished construction and rebuilding of the sections of the building which were damaged by the April 27, 2011, tornado that swept through downtown Cullman and other parts of Cullman County and North Alabama.

The roof was lifted off the majestic rock structure, and the original windows on the south side were shattered into millions of pieces.

“The windows were over 90 years old, “said Associate Pastor Byron Vance, looking up at the multi-hued panels that have just been installed. “They were created by an Italian artist in the 1920s and we were worried that they couldn’t be duplicated,” he said.

The new windows may not have the patina that the older ones had, but looking across the sanctuary toward the north-facing windows, one can tell no difference in the originals and the new windows.

“There were only three windows damaged on the north side, while on the south side, all the windows had to be replaced,” he explained.

In the arch, high above the pews, in the huge central wall of the front of the stately church, the depiction in glass of the Good Shepherd with a lamb looks down over the congregation on Sundays and out over the streets of Cullman, a landmark for all who come this way.  

It too, was broken and shattered due to the storm. Now it is whole again, serving as a reminder that much like the hearts of the people who call this church home, it is healed.

The lovely hand-hooked prayer cushions that line the alter were not damaged, nor was the flooring. “In 2001 the church was carpeted in here,” said Vance. “But it was wet after the storm and when it was taken up for replacement, the original hardwood floors were discovered to be in good shape so the decision was made not to replace the carpet.”

Vance says that the hardwood floors actually help the acoustics in the huge sanctuary. “The organ and the choir voices actually bounce around in here now allowing us to handle and harness those sounds,” he said.

It’s been a long year for everyone in the community, but the rebuilding of landmarks like this one are proof of the resilience, strength and faith of the people who live and worship here.


Text Only
  • SH blessing of throats.jpg Sacred Heart holds Blessing of the Throats

    Members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Cullman took part in the annual ancient tradition of the Blessing of Throats recently following the morning masses.

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • SH Boy Scout Troop 321.jpg Sacred Heart's Boy Scout Troop honored

    Members of Boy Scout Troop 321 from Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church were honored during Mass on Scout Sunday recently in Cullman. The troop has been supported by the Church since it's inception in the early 1950s and takes part

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Methodists in crisis over gay marriage, church law

    The dispute among United Methodists over recognition of same-sex couples has lapsed into a doctrinal donnybrook, pitting clergy who are presiding at gay weddings in defiance of church law against proponents of traditional marriage who are trying to stop them.

    February 6, 2014

  • St. B. March for Life.jpg St. Bernard students attend March for Life

    St. Bernard students joined with the Diocese of Birmingham and 400,000 other pro-life supporters in Washington DC for the annual March for Life during the last week of January, capturing the attention of media mongrel CNN.

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • computer.jpg Pope sees Internet as 'gift from God'

    Mark Pope Francis down as an Internet optimist. He declared his unambiguous support for the Web as a tool that brings humanity closer together in a papal statement Thursday.

    January 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • White Jesus The race of Jesus: Unknown, yet powerful

    For two thousand years, he has been worshipped and adored. Multitudes look to him each day. And yet nobody really knows the face of Jesus.

    December 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • SH Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration.jpg Sacred Heart Church's Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration

    Hispanic members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Cullman enter church dressed in ceremonial garments of their native homeland and carrying mosaics of their patroness, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • SH Christmas program.jpg Huntsville Collegium Musicum Christmas Program at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church

    Eight members of The Huntsville Collegium Musicum presented an acapella concert at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church recently featuring a musical depiction of the Christmas story. Using music dating back to 1420, the program featured works by Cristobal Morales, Jean Mouton, Gustav Holst and Johann Walther as well as the words of American poet Joshua Smith from the eighteenth century.   

    December 18, 2013 1 Photo

  • OCC shoeboxes.jpg Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry

    Another record has been broken by local contributors of gift filled shoeboxes to the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry Project. The OCC Collection Center for Cullman County at Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church collected 6,352 shoeboxes, breaking the previous record of 5,335 shoeboxes collected last year.

    December 10, 2013 1 Photo

  • Christ Lutheran Church and its tornado cross.jpg Processional cross returned to Christ Lutheran Church

    When the tornado tore through Cullman April 27, 2011, one of the many buildings destroyed was Christ Lutheran Church. Stunned residents throughout the city came out of shelters moments after the tornado hit and were awed by the destruction.

    December 10, 2013 1 Photo