Representatives of 15-20 churches in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches participated in a conference call this morning in which they talked about the best way for teams from Grace Brethren congregations in North America to respond to the needs in the aftermath of recent hurricanes.
Led by Barb Wooler, who heads up Crisis Response for Encompass World Partners, the group first heard from Scott Farwell, from Grace Church, Bath Campus, Akron, Ohio (Jeff Bogue, lead pastor). He is coordinating efforts in Houston through Bayou City Fellowship, Cypress branch.
“There is plenty of cleanup to do,” he said. He is working with the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, who are managing recovery projects in that region. If you are interested in sending a team to Texas, contact Scott at Neoi@roadrunner.com. The cost for a team is $150/person. This includes a place to stay and two meals. Individuals are also asked to bring an extra $50 for incidentals.It is anticipated that there will be a need for assistance for months to come.
It is anticipated that there will be a need for assistance in the Houston area for months to come.
Also on the call were Jason Brown, pastor, and Austin Shomeyer, of Suntree Grace Brethren Church, Melbourne, Fla., and Ocean View Fellowship in Indialantic, Fla., and Erik Brunk, pastor at Grace Brethren Church, Brooksville, Fla.
“We have teams coming alongside neighborhoods to do tree and debris removal,” said Brown. “One immediate need will be cared for by a team from Ohio that is arriving any minute,” he added. Suntree’s campus at nearby Palm Bay had a sewage leak. That has been cleaned up, but the team will be tearing up floors and replacing walls.
Brown also hopes that volunteers can come alongside professionals from the church who are already working in the area, thus eliminating costs for residents.
Brunk reported that his community is a low-income area. “Trees that have fallen will probably stay there,” he said. “No one can afford to get them cleaned up.”
“This is an opportunity to get the gospel out,” he added.
The Florida pastors estimate that clean-up will take about four weeks.
Teams may still be organized to meet the need in Florida. Churches and individuals who are interested in serving should contact Barb Wooler (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, cell: 574-453-6479), as she is the point person for the Florida/Irma response. Volunteers will be housed by local churches and may need to provide their own food.