“We are not called to do it alone.” Carol Blair Bouse encourages local churches to network with others when disasters come to their communities.
CAROL BLAIR BOUSE
Coordinator of Applied Mission, East Winds District
As we all have likely heard, the most recent report on climate change says more severe storms are coming. We, as the church, must be poised to respond.
In 2020 we saw heavy rains cause dams to fail, which brought massive flooding to Sanford, Midland, and surrounding areas. This summer, we saw massive flooding in metro Detroit where interstates were shut down for days and basements were filled with water and sewage not once but twice. In the East Winds District, tornados touched down in multiple places in July with little warning for residents. The report from the United Nations tells us we need to be prepared for this to happen more often.
So, how can churches be in ministry with the people of our community during these struggles to recover? Once we have checked on the people within our immediate circle in the aftermath of a disaster, our focus must turn to the broader community. Here are just a few things to consider as we look to be in ministry with our neighbors:
• food insecurity
• housing insecurity
• household goods (paper products, cleaning supplies, diapers, toiletries)
• employment issues
• transportation Concerns
• issues of Grief and Loss
• education issues – tutoring, loss of electronics, books, internet access
As churches, we can come alongside our brothers and sisters in helpful and healing ways. Begin by picking one or more of these areas. Then, begin to focus on how to meet those needs. Further, we can join with other churches in our greater community to ensure as many needs as possible are met. We can request help from churches in our Mission Zone or our neighboring Mission Zones to meet the needs of those impacted by disaster. Congregations also have the support of district and conference disaster response teams.
As we prepare to be the church of the future, we are not called to do it alone. We are called to be a connectional church that works together to meet the needs of our neighbors and shares the love of Jesus with all we meet. Only then can we begin to fulfill the vision found in 1 John 3:18, which says, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; lets us show the truth by our actions.”(NLT)
As we look to the future, we must all be prepared for the disasters that will come. Let us all be prepared to show the love of God to our communities by being ready to be the hands and feet of Christ amid the crises of this world.