The United Congregational Church in Conway came tumbling down Monday, almost 2 years after being struck by a powerful February tornado. 

Conway residents and congregation members watched demolition crews use heavy equipment and cranes to knock down the historic church.

“When we saw the damage and knew it had to come down, it was devastating,” said Reverend Candi Ashenden. “It’s like grieving one more time today.”

There were a lot of heavy hearts in Conway Monday for the demolition of the 133-year-old United Congregational Church. But Reverend Ashenden told 22News there are plans to build a new church right in the old church’s place in the spring. Rev. Ashenden said their insurance company paid $1 million to go toward building their new church.

Congregation members were sad to see their old church go, but they are looking forward to having a permanent place to worship again. 

“It’s been a tough time for me,” said Bill Leno, Conway United Congregational Church member. “The tornado got the better of us, now we are looking for a new life, a new church, and a new beginning.”

Ashenden said demolition crews will be clearing the debris of the old church for the next two days. She expects construction on the new church to begin in March.