Biblical proportions may be overstating the effects of a high-wind thunderstorm that rolled through the area in the early hours of April 20, but for one church on Tosa’s far northeast side, the damage left a memorable dent in the way the congregation observes Easter.

The live Easter vigil scene that has been a staple of Northwest Baptist Church, 4373 N. 92nd St., for 45 years was shredded, leaving church officials to figure out how to resurrect it for 2018.

“Well, at least the storm came after Easter, so there’s a blessing in everything,” said Don Soderberg, a church deacon who first discovered the damage. He said the church sustained other damage, including to its roof and playground, but nothing as impactful as seeing the three-quarter-inch plywood that made up the bulk of the Easter scene splintered and strewn across the church’s north lawn.

The church’s annual Easter vigil includes a cast of volunteers portraying various characters who take three-hour shifts around the clock to help portray the observance from crucifixion to resurrection. Pastor Paul Springer, who began his duties in March and was scheduled to be officially installed on April 23, said he noted the number of people who stop by to see the vigil.

“Many of them pull up in their cars and park along the street to see it,” he said.

With the benefit of a year to recover, officials hope to call on artists to recreate the scene.

“We have the ability to build the structure,” Soderberg said. “We’ll call on places like MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design) to help.” He said the church would welcome any assistance.

Apparently no help will be needed for one portion of the scene that stood tall in the hours following the storm — three large wooden crosses.

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