A Presbytery of New Covenant Harvey Recovery Update (9-15)
We are grateful for the outpouring of love and compassion we are experiencing across the country. The needs in this region are huge and will continue to be for some time.
20 of our 88 churches sustained some level of damage. Some of these are pretty minor, but four churches (FPC, Orange; FPC, Dickinson; St. Andrews, Beaumont and New Hope, Katy) had significant to catastrophic flooding in their buildings and surrounding community. Several other churches had damages in the tens of thousands of dollars.
The homes of at least 10 of our pastors and retired pastors flooded, as did many of our church members. Even churches that did not sustain damage to their property have reported large losses to their members’ homes. A total of 40 congregations had at least two families impacted by flooding, with many counting at 20 – 40 families. We estimate that as much as 60% of FPC Orange congregation, including its pastor and musician, experienced significant house flooding in addition to flooding of the church property.
Communities impacted were both rich and poor. Some neighborhoods emerged practically untouched while others were devastated. There are amazing stories of resilience and of the ways neighbors are helping neighbors. We are seeing the connectional church at work as “muck and gut” crews are volunteering their services to assist other congregations. We have been touched by the prayers and concern expressed across the country.
While much progress has been made, the rebuilding of lives takes time and physical, emotional and spiritual energy. Some survivors are fortunate to have a strong support system and readily available financial assets to rebuild. Others have support systems but limited finances. Still others have nothing.
We have been grateful for the presence of PDA workers in our midst as we begin a journey toward full recovery which we are told will probably take 10 – 12 years. We are grateful to see different faith communities working across denominational and faith tradition lines.
People are champing at the bit to bring work crews – the infrastructure to offer housing is still evolving even as five of our congregations have opened their facilities to house short term recovery volunteers.
We are beginning to receive direct financial gifts restricted to Harvey recovery, notes of encouragement, clean up buckets and hygiene kits. Your kindness matters. Your prayers are felt. Your financial gifts are enormously important. We pray for your attention span to hold us in your heart on this long journey.
Remember, too, the folks to our west in Mission Presbytery whose coastal communities were blown off the map, as well as those communities so impacted by hurricane Irma.
In the first Sunday after the waters receded, these words from the prophet Isaiah were the assurance preached and clung to:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (43:1-4)
May we never forget God’s presence with us in both the storms and the gentle breezes of life.
We trust Christ’s love and light and healing mercies prevail.Resources have been posted on the Presbytery of New Covenant Facebook page. There will others added to our website as they are available. Please watch for announcements in Tuesday Connect, also.
Peace to all! Now the hard work of recovery begins ...
Lynn Hargrove (713-816-7051) | Mary Marcottte (832-691-2475)
Supplies Needed for muck and gut teams
- Crow bars