The following is a letter to Networks and local churches from Linda Beckstead, Member, MCC Omaha.
Pastor Kurt (Krieger) and I have been working together to determine an organized response to Joplin’s tornado, and, more specifically, to our sister church, Spirit of Christ MCC. Our elders, Lillie and Diane, have been part of this conversation, as has Terry Curry, who is out of the country at this time.
I realize so many of us want to get in our cars and go to Joplin and HELP. The last word we heard was to not go to Joplin unless we are trained in search and rescue and can provide medical assistance. I have personally been anxious to do SOMETHING. This act of waiting has certainly been a season of patience for me. However, I apologize if it feels as if the response has been slow. It’s been important to help in meaningful and relevant ways.
And so, look at this list below and see how your church may be able to help. I believe the people of Joplin will continue to need help with clean up, but at this time, I encourage this group to focus on the immediate needs that have been put before us.
If you would like to learn more about how Kurt and I created this list, read on. I put the list first so that you have a sense of how you can help now.
- Continue to support local efforts that send supplies to Joplin. This includes, donating blood. There are so many charities that are currently supplying water and basic needs. Let’s not duplicate efforts, but support them.
- Raise money to purchase gift certificates and send to the church. (Read on to learn more.)
- Raise money to donate directly tot he church to assist with rent for future services, replacement of service supplies, and/or benevolence fund. You also have the option to not earmark your donation. You can send it to Pastor Steve to use as needed.
- Make a donation to the MCC Disaster Relief Fund. At this time, all gifts received to that fund are designated for aid in Joplin.
- Contact your local Red Cross and ask about trainings and volunteering to help with clean up.
We have made an offer to bring Sunday service and a meal to Spirit of Christ and are waiting to hear from Steve. It becomes more complicated when president Obama will be visiting the area that day.
I will be going to Joplin Wednesday with Pastor Kurt and Zach. When we’re there, we will have a better sense of whether specific supplies or clothing items are needed and finalize plans for church Sunday evening.
If you have any questions, Kurt and I will continue to coordinate an MCC response. You may contact the Heartland Network through Kay Hale (KayHale@MCCchurch.net).
Information follows to explain more about the list above and to forecast ways that we can help Pastor Steve and Spirit of christ.
We have three goals.
Our first goal is to support the continuation of Spirit of Christ MCC services. Because the church lost its basic supplies, they will need to replace everything, from communion ware to clergy clothing.
We also want to get Steve reconnected electronically. A laptop is being sent Wednesday (25 May 2011) and a friend of the church is in the process of locating a replacement AT&T phone. It will also be important to update their web presence and so it would be helpful to support this outreach ministry. The web will be an additional way for members and friends to have current information about meeting locations.
Our second goal is to care for the pastor, his family and the congregation. Steve and his partner lost nearly everything in the tornado and will need to create a new home. Other congregants have been displaced because the roof blew off their apartment. Gift certificates might be the most helpful contribution. A gift certificate to Walgreens and Wal-Mart will allow people to refill their prescriptions. A gift certificate to Lowe’s or Home Depot can help a family buy materials to repair or replace damaged furnishing or lost trees or plants. We may be called upon later to help people move to new homes.
Our third goal is to support Spirit of Christ in resuming its ministries. One ministry is with the Angel Food Ministry. The next order is June 17 with a June 25 distribution date. The congregation may need our assistance at that time. Spirit of Christ also has an outreach ministry to community and college groups and may want help to connect with these people.