Tag Archives: damage

West Virginia Church Rises from the Ashes—Literally

Dedication service crowd fills the new sanctuary!

By Carl Stagner

It was nearing the middle of the night on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Instead of sleeping, several of the saints of Green Valley Church of God, in St. Albans, West Virginia, were wide awake. They’d gathered in the parking lot, gazing in horror as smoke and flame engulfed the place where they’d accepted Christ, got baptized, grew in their faith, and/or made lifelong friends. Thoughts raced through their minds: What’s next? How will this affect the ministry here? What in the world does God have in mind? In the trauma of the moment, God’s sovereign hand was hard to detect. But out of the bad, God was working for the good, ushering in a new beginning for Green Valley Church of God. 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

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

Disaster Relief Update: Hurricane Maria ‘Decimates’ Puerto Rico

Street flooding in Puerto Rico (credit: Caleb Garcia).

By Carl Stagner

Puerto Rico, you are not forgotten. Politics and pop culture may have taken over the headlines in recent days, but the Church of God continues to pray for you and assess widespread destruction left behind by Hurricane Maria. The reports from the ground are sobering; decimated accurately describes the landscape, as an estimated 90 percent of structures sustained serious damage (especially those made of wood), including 80 percent of the electrical transmission infrastructure. Some estimates paint a grim picture, as power may not be restored for several months for the more than three million Americans who call Puerto Rico home. Puerto Rico is also home to three Church of God congregations, now desperately trying to clean up, while continuing fervently to represent the hope of Christ amid the humanitarian crisis of a lifetime. Early this week, the Church of God in Puerto Rico provided an update. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Urgent Request

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10 NIV

In light of what has been classified as truly extraordinary need, the Church of God Disaster Relief Committee is highlighting an urgent request. The current scope of devastation from natural disasters around the world is beyond our scale of imagining. The Disaster Relief Committee is working with national leaders and regional pastors in the affected regions to meet needs. Would you help? Donate now to Disaster Relief. Continue reading

Hurricane Harvey: Hope for Texas in the Aftermath of a Monster

Houston street sign warns, “Road may flood” (courtesy June Sherman).

By Carl Stagner

Church of God, it’s time. It’s time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Texas. It’s time to be hope to the people who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses, and churches. It’s time to make a difference. Whether God is leading you to give generously, donate supplies, or assemble work teams for upcoming opportunities to rebuild homes, now is the time to act. While this nightmare is far from over for tens of thousands of people, the outpouring of support for the Lone Star State is proving that they are not alone. The latest updates to the Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief Team are both sobering and encouraging. Continue reading

Southeast Texas Underwater as Disaster Relief Prep Underway

Houston First Church of God flooding (courtesy Tim Gould).

By Carl Stagner

The average annual rainfall for Houston, Texas, is 49.76 inches. Forecasters suggest parts of southeast Texas could surpass that amount of rain before Hurricane Harvey—now a tropical storm—moves out. As the Church of God assesses the developing situation on the ground, the need for disaster relief is imminent. While reports of loss may not be complete for several weeks, experts predict that an estimated 30 thousand people will need temporary shelter in the wake of widespread flood damage. Opportunities to give time, supplies, and resources will become more clear in the coming days. Until then, the Church of God Disaster Relief Team is urging you to pray and give. Continue reading

Before Disaster Strikes

Photo: Earthquake damage in Ecuador last year.

By Christy Anderson

Homes are lost, illnesses are spreading, and lives are shaken. These are the effects of disaster. When a hurricane strikes or when people are displaced by terrorism, help is always needed. It is easy to collect donations and say thank you, but what happens once those donations are given? Where do they go? What are they used for? In places like Haiti, where hurricanes and earthquakes strike, the funds are used to provide immediate relief and to rebuild homes. While it’s sometimes easy to forget to support Church of God Disaster Relief in relatively “quiet” seasons, the Church of God must be ready to provide relief before disaster strikes. Continue reading

Floods Devastate Churches, Communities in Missouri: Your Help Needed!

Photo: Flood waters at First Church of God in Doniphan, Missouri.

By Carl Stagner

UPDATE, May 9, 2017: Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief has just sent $5,000 for flood relief in Missouri as cleanup efforts have only just begun at First Church of God in Doniphan, Missouri. Initial assessments suggest repair costs could exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s why your help is still crucial. Donate today! Church facilities, including the parsonage, were insured, but indications are that as little as 15 percent of the total repair cost will be covered. Renovations are underway in the Family Life Center so the congregation can resume worship at the church property (currently, the congregation is meeting at another local church) before the sanctuary repair is complete.

WORK TEAMS: Missouri Ministries of the Church of God has reported that they will be helping to schedule groups in the next week or so. Supplies of water, gloves, and more are needed. Please contact Missouri Ministries for more information at 573-265-8545 or visit www.cogamo.org/contact/.

Some locals say they’ve never seen it this bad. Reports indicate that between six and twelve inches of rain fell across parts of Missouri over the past week, with several more inches expected. Homes and businesses have been destroyed during this ongoing disaster, which has already claimed two lives. Water levels rose to record highs at fourteen different locations along the state’s rivers, even breaking a few records held for more than a hundred years. A few hundred roads were shut down, and many remain closed. Unfortunately, Church of God congregations have not escaped the water’s wrath. Continue reading

Church of God Responds to South Carolina Flooding

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Torrential rains have brought severe flooding to the Carolinas, claiming the lives of fourteen people. Nearly two hundred water rescues were reported in South Carolina alone, and some eight hundred residents were displaced to due rising floods. Damage estimates in the wake of what has been described as a “thousand-year storm” are in the billions of dollars. Over the first five days of October, some locales received an unprecedented twenty inches of rain. Though the rains have now moved out, flooding poses an ongoing threat—meteorologists suggest it may take two weeks for rivers to crest. Through the Disaster Relief Committee, the Church of God is responding to this disaster. Continue reading

Flooding Disaster in Malawi, Church of God Responds

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Photo: Malawi flooding (Photo courtesy Emmanuel Masamba).

Since the beginning of the year, persistent heavy rains in Malawi and neighboring countries in southern Africa have left massive flooding in their wake. The Disaster Relief Committee at Church of God Ministries has been in conversation with our missionaries in Malawi, Tim and Josie Vickey. While the Vickeys are currently without electricity and water, they are safe and in no danger. Continue reading

CHOG Congregations Sustain Flood Damage: How You Can Help

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Photo: Flooded auditorium at Mountain Park Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Church of God Ministries Disaster Relief Committee has been made aware that Church of God congregations in three states have sustained major flood damage in the past month. Damage reports have been received from Little Paint Church of God in East Point, Kentucky; Mountain Park Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona; and the Christian school at Fairview Church in Seattle, Washington. The extensive damage at each of these facilities is not covered by insurance. Continue reading

Flood Damages Arizona Church: How You Can Help

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Photo: Mountain Park Church’s flooded auditorium on September 8, 2014.

 

Daily rainfall records were shattered across the Phoenix metro area in central Arizona on Monday, September 8. As a result, flash flooding damaged homes, businesses, and churches across the region known as the Valley of the Sun. Mountain Park Community Church sustained damage estimated to be as much as two million dollars. Like most properties in the urban oasis surrounded by desert, this Church of God congregation on the south side of Phoenix was not covered by flood insurance. Continue reading

Earthquake Damage in Ecuador

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Photo: Earthquake damage in the wall and window at a Church of God building in Ecuador.

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador on August 12, not far from the capital of Quito, followed by numerous aftershocks. A second quake, 4.7-magnitude, followed on August 16, again followed by aftershocks. Buildings were destroyed and several lives have been lost in their wake. While initial reports indicate that all area Church of God individuals are safe, at least one church building near the epicenter sustained serious damage. It will take some time to assess the full extent of the damage and determine any need for assistance. Continue reading