There have been so many natural disasters these recent months that it’s hard not to lose hope, even as we pray for the people and animals in harm’s way from fires, hurricanes, and floods. But I do see hope, in the response of so many rescuers – many of them strangers – who are coming to the fore.
With all the wildfires in Northern California, our family knows many congregations and several families who have been caught by the lines of fire. For example in Santa Rosa, even as his family was having to evacuate their own home, Rev. Blake Busick, Senior Pastor at First UMC, hurried to open the doors of the church to give refuge to those escaping the deadly fires.
No doubt as with other denominations, our California-Nevada Disaster Response Team is going out to the fire areas to help assess the situation and be present to survivors. An impressive array of United Methodist church buildings are serving as shelters for evacuees, including Clear Lake, Santa Rosa, Napa, Sonoma, Petaluma, Novato, and both Jones Memorial UMC and the Waller Retreat Center in San Francisco. Other congregations, such as Los Altos UMC, have been putting together and delivering health kits for people in shelters.
I am heartened when I hear of such responses in each region where disasters have struck. Please join me in ongoing prayer and in practical aid (which is prayer-in-action) to help wherever you can.
Your partner in ministry,