Movement Unites in Response to Hurricane Ian Disaster
By Carl Stagner and staff
When Hurricane Ian slammed the Florida coast at Cayo Costa with 150 mile-per-hour winds and torrential rain, the resulting damage to homes, businesses, schools, and infrastructure was widespread and devastating. Parts of the state received upwards of twenty inches of rain; combined with storm surges of over twelve feet, whole communities were left underwater with numerous structures and roads completely washed away. With over a hundred casualties attributed to the severe storm, records reveal Ian as Florida’s deadlines hurricane since 1935. Like so many other buildings, Church of God facilities and homeowners couldn’t escape the wicked weather’s wrath the last few days of September. Thankfully, the Movement in and beyond Florida and South Carolina were quick to rally together in disaster response.
Throughout Ian’s onslaught, and amid the millions of closures and evacuations, Florida Church of God Ministries and Warner University continued to offer updates on social media. Even as assessments continue, one thing is clear—this disaster left a lot of Church of God pastors, educators, and leaders in Florida with a huge mess on their hands. Ken Love, state pastor, communicated some of the scope of the disaster via email and social media in early October:
“This past week our region experienced a major tragedy,” he wrote. “Some lost their lives and some lost personal possessions. Our churches have also experienced disaster and challenge. Churches and pastors extending from southwestern Florida to Daytona Beach are still working to pick up the pieces today.”
Ken continued in his early October update by observing that, “The trauma and destruction to facilities and personal homes is significant. Churches and pastors in the southwest, South Venice First Church, Atwater in North Port, and The Church at Bradenton are dealing with damages to their facilities and homes. Many churches are repairing roof leaks and organizing debris cleanup. In South Daytona, White Chapel Church is experiencing a major loss to their facility, school, and staff. [This includes] a pastoral family who lost their home after just welcoming a newborn. Warner University is forced to keep their students remote for at least another week while they deal with water mitigation.”
Three ways the Church of God movement is encouraged to come alongside those affected by Hurricane Ian are as follows: pray, give, and go.
Here are five suggested prompts to begin praying specifically for those affected by, and responding to, the Hurricane Ian disaster. Please pray
- for communication systems to be restored and people to be rescued,
- for families and friends who lost loved ones,
- for communities that lost livelihoods and life as they know it,
- for first-responders and volunteer teams, and
- for the witness of churches and volunteers as they serve.
100 percent of your donation goes to equipping the Church of God to respond to human suffering and restore broken communities to the wholeness God intends for his kingdom. Several Church of God congregations were directly impacted by Hurricane Ian and need financial assistance. Your gift equips Church of God Ministries to send relief to these affected churches and empower volunteers from across the Movement to go and serve. Thank you.
We invite you to be the incarnational presence of Jesus amid the devastation. Church of God Ministries will be extending vouchers to empower volunteer teams to go and serve at little to no cost. Volunteer vouchers are available now through December 31, 2022. Click here to download a PDF containing more information.
Church of God Ministries is only able to respond swiftly when disaster strikes because it maintains a disaster relief fund. In crises where an immediate response is critical for relief, Church of God Ministries advances funds in anticipation of a gracious outpouring of donations from churches and individuals. Disaster Relief contributions are utilized to bring relief to those affected by disasters worldwide.
In the words of Florida Church of God Ministries state pastor Ken Love, “Every crisis opens a path to destiny, generosity and experiencing his Majesty. Crisis allows our faith to be tangible. Let’s rise and pour out blessings upon our sister churches!”
Learn more about, and get involved with, Church of God Disaster Relief: www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief-and-restoration. Learn more about Florida Church of God Ministries at www.flcog.org.
Feature (top) photo: White Chapel Church and Warner Christian Academy suffered damage from Hurricane Ian.