Hurricane Harvey And Faithful Presence

Hurricane Harvey And Faithful Presence

Dale Hall

Father Dale Hall began ministry in 1987 at Calvary Baptist Church, in Rome, Georgia, and is an Anglican priest serving at The Mission, in Chattanooga, where he lives with his wife Kimberly. They have two sons and a daughter in law.

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Texas will be dealing with the rest of the crisis from Hurricane Harvey this week, and then begin the efforts of recovery. How do we respond?

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina decimated not just New Orleans, but much of the Gulf Coast, including Gulfport, Mobile, Biloxi, and beyond. Kim Lawton, in a PBS special report on faith-based disaster relief, at the time reported:

“Hundreds of faith-based volunteers rushed into the devastated areas to help with rescue operations, while others mobilized to provide desperately needed food, medicine, and shelter.”

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was the church and other volunteers who rushed to aid. Locally, we organized and sent a semi full of supplies, and began sending aid teams down almost immediately, even before FEMA had a chance to get organized. People were desperate for help. After the initial crisis hundreds of man-hours were spent over the next months cleaning out carpet and drywall from houses, and helping people to begin to rebuild their lives. At our best we set aside differences, and practiced “do unto others.”

In 2010 the Nashville flood was met by the church organizing recovery efforts in a grass-roots way, becoming a rallying point, first just for basics like fresh water, and then further recovery efforts. In 2011 I had friends in Joplin Missouri whose church was spared, just one block from the devastation of the killer tornado. They offered their electric outlets to first responders for recharging, and quickly became a hub for relief efforts. Offer what you can, and then see what happens.

How can we best respond in crisis? Immediately, if you have the resources, cash to Anglican Relief and Development Fund, Samaritan’s Purse, The Salvation Army, or another reputable group helps them provide water, meals, and basics today and tomorrow. In the long run, recovery will take a while. Fall break trips to help with cleanup might be a good thing to begin organizing, especially if coordinated with a church on the ground in Texas. Over the next days and weeks avenues to assist will become clearer. In our fast paced world it will be easy to forget about the needs in Texas in a couple of weeks, we should keep them in prayer and keep them in mind. Recovery may take months, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina, but the church has an opportunity for faithful presence.

How can we best respond in crisis? Immediately, if you have the resources, cash to Samaritan’s Purse, The Salvation Army, or another reputable group helps them provide water, meals, and basics today and tomorrow. In the long run, recovery will take a while. Fall break trips to help with cleanup might be a good thing to begin organizing, especially if coordinated with a church on the ground in Texas. Over the next days and weeks avenues to assist will become clearer. In our fast paced world it will be easy to forget about the needs in Texas in a couple of weeks, we should keep them in prayer and keep them in mind. Recovery may take months, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina, but the church has an opportunity for faithful presence.

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