By Carl Stagner
UPDATE, as of May 31, 11:15 AM EDT: As floodwaters continue to devastate parts of Oklahoma, Church of God Ministries has authorized $5,000 in relief funds to be sent to aid relief efforts in coordination with Crossings Community Church (Oklahoma City) and First Church of God (Nowata, Oklahoma). Wendell Abbott, pastor in Nowata, reports that the need is great and most homeowners do not have flood insurance. The emergency manager for the county is also a part of the Nowata congregation and the church has become a staging facility for the Red Cross. In Muskogee, also inundated, Pastor Gary Underwood of Eastside Community Church is helping flood victims in a variety of ways, including gathering hay for farm animals. While the story continues to develop, we rejoice that great things are happening through the Church of God in Oklahoma in the name of Jesus! To continue to distribute disaster relief funds, we need your financial support: www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief.
UPDATE, as of May 30, 3:55 PM EDT: Kevin Clouse, of Oklahoma Church of God Ministries, has reported that no Church of God buildings have been damaged from recent storms and flooding. One pastor’s rented house sustained some roof damage, and some churches are hard to reach due to flooded roads. Of course, numerous homes and churches beyond the Movement have been damaged or destroyed, and we continue to lift in prayer those affected, including Church of God congregations engaging in relief efforts for their communities.
ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT: It’s been a rough few weeks from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania and states in between. While weather records reveal an average of 276 tornadoes nationwide during the month of May, as of May 29, more than 460 tornadoes had been reported. While much of the media has focused its attention on the dramatic destruction of structures due to recent tornadic activity, parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri remain underwater. Church of God congregations near and far from the affected regions have already mobilized work teams, supply drives, and represented Jesus in tangible ways, but there is so much more to be done. Church of God Disaster Relief continues to gather information and determine the scope of the affect of such severe weather on our churches and congregants.
First Church of God in Craig, Missouri, remains inaccessible due to a broken levee, forcing the congregation to gather at a temporary location. A tornado in Jefferson City, Missouri, this month touched down three blocks from First Church of God, leaving the church unscathed but parts of the community a mess; First Church responded by immediately opening up their building as a shelter and source of refreshment for relief workers. Rivers and streams have risen to record-high levels across much of Oklahoma and, while no churches as of this point have reported damage, Pastor Gary Underwood of Eastside Community Church in Muskogee has noted that the homes of congregants have been affected. Tornadoes in Kansas, Indiana, and Ohio have left toppled trees and left buildings in ruins, but Church of God congregations in Pendleton, Indiana, and the Dayton, Ohio, area have responded with donations of time, resources, refreshments, and volunteer labor.
The beauty of the body of Christ at work is stunning, but the need and challenge remains great, and your prayerful support is greatly appreciated. Church of God Ministries’ Disaster Relief team has reached out to regional pastors for more information on the impact these severe storms have had on churches, so the Movement can pray and support in the most specific and strategic ways possible. At this point, reports indicate that Church of God congregations in Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, and Texas, have not been directly affected; for this, we are thankful. Sadly, homes of congregants in at least a couple of these states have suffered damage.
Church of God Disaster Relief remains committed to respond swiftly when disaster strikes. Your donations make this possible. Please consider a gift to support Church of God Disaster Relief today at www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief. Or, mail your donation to Church of God Ministries, PO Box 2420, Anderson IN 46013, and write “Project #45.04502” on the memo line of your check to assign your gift accordingly.