April 12, 2018
The United Church of Christ speaks about the ministry of presence and the importance of accompanying people on their journey. This is our ministry with partners around the world.
This week I have had the joy and privilege of working with a group of 11 other energetic, hopeful, and caring adults from ERUCC, Christ Reformed UCC, Middletown and St. Paul’s UCC in Fleetwood, PA in Daytona Beach, Florida providing much needed assistance for those affected by Hurricane Matthew. The ERUCC group, in addition to me, is represented by Will Duncan, Scott Smiley, and Keith Stickley.
Hurricane Matthew hit this area in October of 2016 causing extensive damage in the area, One year later in September of 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida with record-force winds and storm surges.
For many, the damage from Matthew is out of the news and out of our minds but not for people living in Volusia County, Florida. For the church and its partners on the ground, the victims of Hurricane Matthew are not forgotten.
We have spent the week working on Hurricane Matthew damage in several rooms and in particular, with Marlene who has lived for two years in a home with severe roof damage. One wonders how one could live like this for so many months with all your belongings in plastic boxes and with buckets to collect rainwater scattered throughout the house. Also, without a functioning kitchen or bathroom and needing to use the facilities next door. Why? Because this homeowner felt others had received more damage. This homeowner felt she could do some of the work herself.
The UCC partners in this area of Florida with VIND – Volusia Interfaith/Agencies Networking in Disaster. We have been so impressed by the organization and the staff preparing us for the work and bringing the needed materials. By the end of the week we will have worked on three homes – repairing water damage on ceilings in one home and helping an older woman’s ceiling get repaired and painted and the electricity in order so she can cook with her microwave. Marlene’s home has a new roof thanks to our group, a functioning kitchen, and by the end of the day she will have her bathroom back.
As Scott Smiley led devotions last evening, he reminded us that not all of us have the time or money to come on one of these trips but we can all do something to provide hope and care for a neighbor.
Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing help to provide funds for disaster response. You and I are changing the lives through this ministry of presence and accompaniment.
Thank you for your gifts and thank you for holding us in prayer.
On Sunday, April 29th at 9:30 during
, you’ll have an opportunity to see and hear more about our trip.
Food for Thought:
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701