Tag Archives: Disaster Relief

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

Fairfax First Day a Joyful Celebration of Life

Tuesday evening led by a team from Celebration Church at Columbia.

By Carl Stagner

Earlier this year, an addition to the Fairfax Community Church facility was completed. The new wing, solely devoted to youth and children’s ministry, nearly doubled the size of the building. Gathering for worship and teaching sessions inside the new addition on the first day of the Church of God Regional in Fairfax, Virginia, afforded convention-goers a unique opportunity. While the five electives held on Tuesday afternoon demonstrated a rich depth of ministry insight on the part of the stellar host church staff, activity throughout the day under the church’s new roof served as a constant reminder of the life-giving DNA of Fairfax Community Church. The ideal setting for the kickoff of the fourth 2018 Regional Convention set the stage very well for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit through an interactive dialogue with Ben Hardman and Ben Sternke, moments of worship led by praise teams from Fairfax and Celebration Church at Columbia (Maryland), and an especially potent message from the general director. 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

Friendships Forged in Post-Hurricane Harvey Texas

All ages got involved in the building restoration.

By Noel Marquis

When Fairview Church of God of Falkville, Alabama, composed a work team to help with the restoration process at Orange Church of God in Orange, Texas, they expected to encounter hurricane damage. What they didn’t expect was the new and beautiful relationships they gained through the process. 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

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