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Shiloh UMC survives flames and winds to be pillar of community

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[NOTE: This is the first of three articles this week commemorating the 40th anniversary of the tornado outbreak of April 3, 1974. The other two articles will appear in the Huntsville History and Landmark Examiner and the Huntsville Staycation Examiner later this week.]

Shiloh United Methodist Church is a pillar of the Ryland community. The church has been a house of worship, a place of celebration, and even a place to remember those in the community who have died. The church has been around for over two hundred years, and will remain a part of the community for years to come.

The church was founded in 1808, which makes it one of the oldest churches in Alabama, and even ten years older than the state. It was also one of the first Methodist churches established in the region.

In late 1931, the church burned to the ground one day after a wedding featuring prominent members of the Ryland community. The newlyweds cancelled their honeymoon, helping to rebuild the church.

April 3, 1974, was a Wednesday night that no one in Ryland will soon forget. The tornado outbreak that night spawned over a hundred tornadoes throughout the U.S. One of those tornadoes, a F-4 twister, damaged Shiloh United Methodist Church, and also damaged or destroyed many other buildings in the Ryland area. Rebuilding the community was hard work, but the community came together at the church and asked the Lord for His help.

Today, the church continues to be a house of worship, serving the community and praising God for His blessings. Under the leadership of Pastor Chris Whitehead, the church has members and visitors of all age groups and from all backgrounds.

Shiloh United Methodist Church has been a part of the community for many years. With the Lord's help, it will continue to be a part of the community for many years to come.

[NOTE: Article corrected to provide corrected rating for the tornado from April 3, 1974, which was an F-4 tornado. The previous version of this article referred to the tornado as an F-5 tornado.]

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