Submitted by Week of Compassion
After the devastation of recent tornadoes and significant flooding that followed, communities across the Midwest begin the long journey towards recovery.
Jefferson City, MO suffered some of the most significant impact.
Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin says, “As our city and state recover from these devastating storms and flooding, the faith community has helped sustain our physical work and our emotional healing. I am grateful for the engagement from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and so many other religious traditions that contribute to keep Jefferson City strong.”
The Mid-America region and Disciples congregations in the Jefferson City area hosted a delegation of church leaders who came to offer pastoral care and learn how Disciples can best support the work of recovery. The delegation included General Minister and President Teresa Hord Owens; Week of Compassion Executive Director Vy Nguyen; Josh Baird of Disciples Home Missions’ Disciples Volunteering; Jim Michel from Disciples Church Extension Fund; and other pastors from the region.
Those gathered spent time touring the area; listening to the experiences of pastors and church members impacted by the disaster; meeting with government officials and other disaster response partners; and learning how the wider church can help meet the needs of the community.
Owens says, “Listening to the stories of pastors and congregations impacted by the recent tornadoes in Missouri, I was grateful to be present and bear witness to all they have experienced. In the aftermath of the storm, the Church is here not only to assist with recovery, but to hold each one in prayer and love. We need spiritual and emotional resources to recover from such trauma as much as we need physical resources.”
Jesus said that “where two or three have gathered in my name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). Those gathered in Jefferson City last week represented a greater cloud of witnesses, as the whole Church surrounds the community in prayer. We trust that the spirit of the living Christ is present through prayers, and through your tangible support of rebuilding and renewal.
“A tremendous amount of work is underway to help rebuild this community,” says Nguyen. “Our local partners have been overwhelmed by support from our church and the wider disaster response community. However, they are experiencing an influx of volunteers that the community is not equipped to receive right now. As we move into long-term recovery** and establish infrastructure, these volunteers will be vital in the coming months. For now, the best way to support Jefferson City is to stay, pray and give. Your support in these ways enables those already on the ground to respond in the most efficient and helpful ways.”
Once immediate needs have been addressed, the work of finding long-term solutions will begin. Disciples of Christ leaders have affirmed their commitment to being present through every stage of the process.
**Contact Disciples Volunteering to learn more about serving in communities that are in long-term recovery and prepared to work with mission teams.