NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– Early Friday morning, March 2, men attending the National Association of Presidents of UM Men were notified that tornados were approaching middle Tennessee, and they should be prepared to move to the basement level of the Denman Building which houses the historic Upper Room Chapel.
In the afternoon, Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on UM Men, was warning the assembly about a figurative spring storm that might damage the commission when General Conference assembles in Tampa, Fla. Before he could finish, a tornado siren warned of real storms approaching Nashville.
The men were ushered downstairs to parts of the building never seen by tourists who visit the historic second floor chapel.
Amidst wire cages, used furniture, cabinets and boxes of seldom used materials, the men gathered in groups, chatted, sang hymns and tried to connect with the Internet to see where the storms were headed.
When the all clear was sounded, the area suffered little damage. The only remnant of a storm was less than dime-size hailstones. Coming from all parts of the nation, many men quickly made calls to their homes to assure their families they were safe and to make sure their loved ones were also safe.
While Nashville was spared major damage, more than 100 tornados crossed 12 states in mid America destroying thousands of homes and killing 38 people in five states.