MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) — Mayfield First United Methodist Church, a century-old temple with stately columns and stained-glass windows, has long been an anchor in the life of Kathy O’Nan, the city’s 68-year-old mayor.
She directed the children’s choir for 42 years and attended countless worship services and ceremonies, from weddings to funerals to the baptisms of both her children — before a massive tornado tore off the church’s roof and covered the front entrance in rubble.
“It was just my home,” O’Nan said. “For all of us, it was our home.”
First United Methodist is one of a half-dozen historic churches in the central core of this western Kentucky community that were destroyed or heavily damaged, all with roots dating to the 1800s. Most of their sanctuaries were more than 100 years old, constructed when worship spaces tended to be grand with amenities such as giant pipe organs, heavy wooden pews and the now-collapsed dome that once crowned the nearby First Christian Church.