Category Archives: Disaster Relief

Tornadoes, Flooding Wreak Havoc Across Plains, Midwest

Dayton-area home damaged by tornado (photo courtesy Chris Hall).

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. Continue reading

Disaster Response Sustains Haiti Hospital through Recent Crisis

Hospital of the Church of God in Haiti.

By Mark Fulton

Responses to crises vary wildly. In February 2019, a faction of the general populous of Haiti responded to economic and governmental crises with a long period of violent protests and roadblocks, leading to advisories from the US Embassy, to all people, to “shelter in place.” In the midst of the uncertain times, the Hospital of the Church of God struggled to continue its normal daily functions. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Flooding Devastates Craig, Missouri

Approaching the church’s front doors by boat.

By Carl Stagner

On March 20, the levee holding back the steadily rising Missouri River broke in more than one place, forcing the town of Craig, Missouri, to evacuate, and leaving behind flooded homes and churches—including First Church of God. Inside the house of worship, chest-deep water inundated parts of the facility, while two feet of water was visible inside the sanctuary, damaging carpets, pews, books, tables, and their piano and organ. With homes underwater, at least two members of the small congregation have also had to find temporary shelter. The river has receded somewhat but, with more snowmelt and rain in the forecast, it’s not certain Craig will dry out. In the meantime, First Church of God finds itself in a difficult situation—without flood insurance, as this kind of flooding had never happened before. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Extremes: Flooding, Drought Devastate Malawi, Zambia

Residents move to higher ground due to rising floodwaters in Malawi.

By Carl Stagner

A crisis of biblical proportions is ongoing in southern Africa, especially the countries of Malawi and Zambia. Lives have been lost. Storms have collapsed homes belonging to Children of Promise-sponsored children. Flooding has destroyed homes belonging to Church of God pastors and laypeople. Church buildings and facilities have been washed away. Crops—representing the livelihood of countless individuals—have been decimated by rising floodwaters in some areas, while catastrophic drought has rendered other fields worthless. Overall, thousands of Church of God people, and hundreds of thousands of people beyond the movement, have been affected by these atmospheric extremes. Church of God Ministries is sending initial funds to the Church of God in Malawi and Zambia, but so much more is needed. Continue reading

Hunger Relief Funds Sent to Venezuela

“Christ Loves You” bags for Venezuela.

Venezuela has been experiencing a severe economic crisis since 2014. Hyperinflation is out of control, and regular minimum wage hikes have not kept up with the rising costs of food. It is reported that inflation is approaching 1 million percent annually! For example, in December a bag of sugar cost 500 bolivares soberanos. In the same bag of sugar in January cost 5,000 bolivares soberanos. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: California Wildfires

By Carl Stagner

The multiple wildfires raging in California are reported to be the deadliest in history. Entire communities have been wiped off the map, as the list of missing persons has climbed to well over a thousand. Even the East Coast has observed the effects of the fires as haze drifts across the country. Though rain is in the forecast, the much-needed moisture is also likely to cause dangerous mudslides and even more devastation. Since the wildfires began, Church of God Ministries has urged prayerful support over social media. Now your financial support is desperately needed, too. Continue reading

Michael Aftermath: Post-Hurricane Help Needed Now (updated Oct. 31)

The cross remains on the Panama City church’s sign!

By Carl Stagner

One hundred fifty-five miles per hour. That’s how powerful Hurricane Michael’s winds were when the Category Four monster made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10. Meteorologists are calling the storm the strongest to ever hit the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew of 1992. In its wake, Michael left behind widespread catastrophic damage, leveling homes and businesses, and claiming the lives of at least nineteen, as the search for missing persons continues. The Church of God was not left unscathed; to date, two congregations have reported damage to their church building and their homes. As information continues to be collected by state ministry offices and Church of God Ministries, Church of God congregations across the country are already responding to the imminent and critical needs of funds, supplies, time, and labor. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Hurricane Michael

As of 12:00 PM EDT, October 10:

Church of Ministries has contacted Pastors Ken Love (state pastor for Florida), Tim Teague (chairperson for the General Assembly in Alabama) and Mike Claypool (regional pastor for the Carolinas) ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Michael. Lines of communication have been established and we are now awaiting the onslaught of this storm. Please join us in praying that this major storm will pass through quickly with a minimum of damage. After having seen the devastation of Hurricane Florence (thankfully, Church of God congregations in the Carolinas did not experience major difficulties in that storm), we anticipate extensive wind and water damage across the region. Continue reading

Hurricane Florence: What We Know, What You Can Do

Pastors Mike Claypool (regional pastor for the Carolinas) and Robert Neace (state pastor for Virginia) have indicated today that, while certain areas in their states were particularly hard hit, Church of God congregations under their care have sustained little damage. For this we are rejoicing! There will certainly be clean-up and some repairs necessary in the aftermath of this storm—of this we are certain. Beyond our local congregations, however, this storm provides the opportunity for our sisters and brothers in affected areas to be the hands and feet of Jesus in communities and neighborhood near our churches. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update: Hurricane Florence

As Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast of the United States, Church of God Ministries is preparing even now to assist our congregations in affected areas. It is our plan to coordinate with state and regional pastors to assure immediate and appropriate response to this looming disaster. Should you wish to assist Church of God congregations in the Carolinas, Virginia, and extended areas with disaster relief, you may do so by making a contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund, #45.04502.

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. John M. Johnson, Disaster Relief Ministries coordinator at Church of God Ministries, 800-848-2464, ext. 2107, or by e-mail at JJohnson@chog.org.

Thank you for your prayerful and financial support! Learn more about Church of God Disaster Relief at https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief/.

Disaster Relief Update: Guatemala “Volcano of Fire”

On Sunday, June 3, Guatemala’s Volcán de Fuego—“Volcano of Fire”—erupted, spewing dangerous ash, gases, and lava from its 12,346-foot summit. To date, various news sources have indicated that at least 109 persons have been killed. Media coverage has shown footage of the massive and tragic devastation through the week, and now Church of God Ministries has heard from the Church of God in Guatemala. Continue reading

Hurricane Sunday: Florida Churches, Ministries Unite for Puerto Rico

By Carl Stagner

September 20, 2017. To most of the country, that date holds no particular significance. But in Puerto Rico, that date will long be remembered as the day everything changed for almost everyone. Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in one hundred years, left widespread devastation in its wake. Utility companies have struggled to restore power, businesses have struggled to reopen, and some churches have even closed their doors. A mass exodus of citizens, without precedent in the history of the territory, has only made the problem worse. Though media coverage has waned, the need for restoration of property—and hope—is more critical than ever. Moved with compassion and compelled by the Spirit, Florida Ministries, the Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano), Helping Hands in Motion, and Florida congregations are coming together for Puerto Rico on the third of June for what they’re calling Hurricane Sunday. Continue reading

Refugees Find Community through the Church of God in Germany

Ken & Keli with extended family of John & Rhonda in their home.

Over the last couple years, the Church of God Disaster Relief fund has provided matching funds to the German national church to support strategic refugee initiatives launched by local German congregations in response to the refugee crisis there. At the invitation and hospitality of the German Church of God, Ken and Keli Oldham (Global Strategy) were able to follow up with a few of these ministries this summer. They witnessed the German church developing significant relationships with refugees as they have sought not just to serve their needs, but to include them into their fellowships. Continue reading

Outages, Shortages Plague Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Maria

Tree and structural damage in Puerto Rico (credit: Caleb Garcia).

The following is a disaster relief update provided by Mary Ann Martinez-Garcia of the Church of God in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria first made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20 (click here for the original report).

Thank you so much for your support and the support of our Church of God family. We really appreciate your prayers! Continue reading

Western PA Churches Band Together for Hurricane-Hit Texas

CHOG Albuquerque team members unloading material in Texas.

By Carl Stagner

Pastor Greg Smith lived in Houston, Texas, from 2010 to 2013, where attended First Church of God. Over those three years, he got to know Texas pastors Tim Gould, Jim Fiertag, and Tim West. During that period, he also worked on a Homeland Security grant, and was a part of a three-person team that wrote the Mass Fatality Incident Response Plan for the city of Houston and thirteen surrounding counties. Though he now lives in Pennsylvania and pastors First Church of God in Punxsutawney, the Hurricane Harvey disaster hit home for Greg. It should come as no surprise that Greg’s church would respond. But what he might not have expected was the incredible show of support from a dozen churches across Western Pennsylvania. Continue reading