After fire and tornado, Miss. church is rebuilt

By HOLBROOK MOHR | November 19, 2011 | 11:25 AM EST

In this Nov. 16, 2011 photograph a newly rebuilt Hillcrest Baptist Church stands in place of the previous Yazoo City, Miss., church which was destroyed by a tornado April 24, 2010. Donations from around the world and from its small membership has helped them rebuild almost debt free. The church will be rededicated Sunday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

YAZOO CITY, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi church that has been destroyed twice — once by a fire in 1999 and then again by a tornado last year — has undergone a resurrection of sorts.

Reminders of the tornado are still all around: bent flag poles, broken crosses, snapped trees and abandoned houses.

But now the Hillcrest Baptist Church is holding a dedication ceremony Sunday to celebrate its new building.

Perhaps nobody is more thankful than 61-year-old Dale Thrasher.

Thrasher was the only person in the church when the tornado hit in April 2010. He climbed under the communion table, surviving with barely a scratch.

Thrasher says the church was able to rebuild without any debt thanks to donations.