Three dozen pastors and church leaders gathered at First Christian Church in Jefferson City, Wednesday and Thursday, June 5-6 to visit with and receive pastoral nurture and care from General Minister and President, Terri Hord Owens; Week of Compassion Director, Vy Nguyen, Disciples Volunteering Coordinator, Josh Baird, Disciples Church Extension Fund leader Jim Michel, and the Regional Minister Team. Pastors and leaders from the most affected storm disaster areas, Rev. Bethany Imbler, Community Christian Church-Jefferson City; Dr. Bill & Lisa Fogelsong, FCC-Eldon; Rev. Ruth Ann Clark, Clarksville CC and FCC-Louisiana, Dr. Craig Kirby-Grove, FCC-Maryville and representing NW Quadrant Missouri River flooded areas. We thank our gracious hosts, Revs. Beau Underwood and Sarah Kingsbury of FCC-Jefferson City. The church also fed many members of Community CC for a solidarity sisterhood lunch.
All gathered took advantage of the time to share lamentation and also resilience in the communities they serve. Denominational leaders lifted all in prayer and promises that they will not leave their side until the breech is restored, and long after the media have moved on to something else. Hats off to all the visiting dignitaries who visit local devastation sites and relief centers and participated in many local relief action plan meetings to help them understand the full gamut of what storms wrought.
At the conclusion, an ACTS of God prayer service was hosted by Second Christian Church and Pastor Vernell Weston. (ACTS - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.) The prayer service ended and further response has begun. Disciples Volunteering estimates that late summer and fall will be a good time for strategic organized relief efforts to begin and plans are underway for the youth mission clean effort in Clarksville this winter.
Everyone is invited to watch the Mid-America Update for notice of these and earlier storm/flooding related news and invitations. Dollars to Week of Compassion remain the best way to show support. Church World Service Clean Up Buckets assembly instructions and drop off locations across the Region may be found by clicking Festival of Sharing.
Lisa Foglesong (pictured at top) described the devastation in Eldon and the amazing way the community has pulled together.
Rev. Ruth Ann Jones (pictured center), and leaders from the Clarksville and Louisiana congregations she serves ,expressed her deep appreciation for the ways in which neighboring Disciples congregations continue to provide support for holding back the flood waters.
Rev. Bethany Imbler (pictured at bottom) gave an update on the damages that Community Christian Church in Jefferson City sustained when hit by the tornado.
Week of Compassion responded immediately after the storms hit, providing grant money for congregations and affected members. Executive Directory Vy Nguyen (pictured at top) brought a word of hope to the group gathered.
Disciples Volunteering Director Josh Baird (pictured center) described the process for organizing volunteers to help with the recovery and rebuilding process.
General Minister and President Rev. Terri Hord Owens (pictured at bottom) gave a powerful pastoral reminder to the pastors about the importance of staying grounded in our faith as we seek to help others who are hurting.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this recovery effort in so many ways.
Thanks to Regional Ministers Paul Koch and Penny Ross-Corona
for this information and photos.