GREENVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A church pastor in Greenville credits divine invention after he canceled an evening service minutes before a severe storm nearly destroyed the house of worship.

Highland Terrace Baptist Church Pastor Chet Haney looked into his church’s severely-damaged preschool room on Thursday and wondered, “what if?”

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Highland Terrace Baptist Church Pastor Chet Haney (CBS 11)

“It’s actually my granddaughter’s Sunday school room it’s completely demolished something fell out of the sky and landed on top of it,” said Pastor Haney. “Without hesitation we decided we better tell everybody to stay home. thank the Lord we did because 25 minutes (later) we didn’t have a church anymore in terms of the building.”

The pastor’s decision to cancel an evening service may have prevented injuries or worse to dozens of members.

Highland Terrace Baptist Church damaged by storm in Greenville, Texas (Chopper 11)

It’s where powerful, straight line winds caused the roof to collapse into several rooms including the sanctuary.

Highland Terrace Baptist Church damaged by storm in Greenville, Texas (Chopper 11)

Among the losses, a 40-year-old organ and a priceless, autographed Steinway piano that once belonged to Van Cliburn, both soaked from several inches of rain.

“We’re kind of on pins and needles about how damaged they could be,” said Haney.

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Elsewhere in Greenville, the storm ripped off roofs and snapped power poles in the historic downtown area.

Martha Smith and her husband walked the courthouse square Thursday and marveled at the amount of debris.

“We were just curious about what had actually happened,” said Smith. “It’s pretty bad, but it’s certainly not what Dallas got (two weekends ago).

Power outages kept a number of small businesses closed.

There were 15 calls to 911 related to the storm.

They were for either car accidents, home entrapment and calls about debris.

All injuries were minor.


Straight Line Winds Damage Highland Terrace Baptist Church, Other Buildings In Greenville

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