Today, all of our hearts are heavy as we watch the devastation which has resulted from a tornado that moved through Joplin, Missouri, last night. In its path, the tornado has left loss of property, inflicted injury and even left a death toll of 116 people, to date.
It is also heavy in our spirits today that Spirit of Christ MCC in Joplin was worshipping when the tornado came through, causing them to evacuate to the basement of the church. While they waited in the basement, the entire building above them was destroyed. Rev. Steve Urie and his partner Heath, also lost their home.
I have been in touch with our Pastors and Network Leaders in the Heartland Network, of which, Joplin is a part. Since last night, they have been working tirelessly to keep connection with Rev. Steve Urie, organize to raise money, appeal for supplies and plan multiple trips this week to Joplin to carry supplies and hold an outdoor worship service next Sunday. Just as I am dismayed by the destruction the tornado has left, I am simultaneously uplifted by the incredible generosity and compassion of our churches in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. These are the moments when our words of hope become real through our actions.
Please know that we are doing everything we can to mobilize, communicate and respond to the needs that are unfolding every hour. So many churches around the globe are eager to assist in any way possible, so we ask that you do three things:
1. Please stop for a moment each day, as individuals and as congregations, to pray this prayer:
God, in these moments when we feel helpless and worried, we ask for your comfort and presence. Together, we join our hearts and spirits to pray for the members and friends of Spirit of Christ MCC. We also hold in our hearts all the people in the Joplin area who were affected by this storm. We know you as the comforter and healer, and we call on you to do your work in all the places where fear, injury, loss and devastation are present. We believe, Oh God, in the mystery of your power and call on it now as we pray. Amen.
2. If your church or its members want to make a donation to MCC’s Disaster Relief Fund, click here:
These monies will be used to assist in the places where there are gaps and no other organization or entity is meeting the need.
3. Watch carefully for updates from the Disaster Relief Team that will keep you informed about new facts we are receiving, as well as suggestions about the tangible ways that your congregation can assist during this time of grief and recovery.
Remember that when we feel helpless and unable to adequately respond to a situation like this one, we are people who believe in prayer and believe in a God whose power and presence are palpable. Please lift your prayers, your good will and your light for all the people of Joplin, MO.
Rev. Elder Lillie Brock