tampabay.com

Church symbolic of damage razed, ready to rebuild

By CATHERINE E. SHOICHET
Published March 3, 2007


LADY LAKE - Last month's tornadoes thrust the small Lady Lake Church of God into an international spotlight.

Its splintered remains were the backdrop for dozens of TV newscasts. Gov. Charlie Crist stopped by regularly for several days after the storm.

"It was humbling and also gave us a great sense of responsibility," the Rev. Larry Lynn said this week as he sat in his new office - a small table beneath a tent.

The church is gone and the land around it cleared. Crews removed the last tree stump Wednesday.

Plans for a new $1.8-million church are being developed, with insurance money and donations from around the world. Until then, services are at Phillips Buick-Pontiac-GMC in Fruitland Park.

Lynn said the storm hasn't changed his outlook on life or his faith. "It's just one of those bumps in the road," he said. "I'm just a pilgrim passing through from this life to the next."

At least one thing is different. Lynn dines with Crist at the Governor's Mansion on Monday.