NEW MINDEN — St. John's Lutheran Church in New Minden tentatively plans to hold its weekend services in the basement of the church's school building, the church's pastor said Tuesday.
The church suffered heavy damage to its roof, and lost its steeple, when a tornado moved through town on Sunday.
"I think we'll be in our school basement, but that's tentative," said the Rev. Timothy Mueller.
Services are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.
Mueller said no decisions have been made yet regarding repairing or rebuilding the church.
"Our trustees are meeting with insurance people today. We haven't had an official determination of that yet," Mueller said.
For now, Mueller said, the church's priority is helping the 10 local families whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged. He said gift cards are being collected for the families. They can be dropped off during the next day or so at the school building, which is serving as sort of a command post, or can be mailed to: St. John's Lutheran Church, 15538 State Route 127, Nashville, IL, 62263.
The National Weather Service reported Tuesday that there were two tornadoes in the New Minden area.
The first one, measured as an EF4, which means it had winds of 166 to 200 mph, hit New Minden and a house near Hoyleton, said NWS meteorologist Laura Kanofsky.
"Then a new one developed, which is pretty common. It moved through parts of Washington County and into the area of Centralia," Kanofsky said.
The second tornado was measured as an EF1, which means it had winds of 86 to 110 mph.