By Conference Minister Diane Weible
My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the fires that broke out this past weekend.
From the loss of homes and businesses, to the very real and imminent fire danger, to being packed up and ready to go if told to evacuate, to wanting to offer their church building for those evacuated but knowing that they too might soon be in the evacuation zone which would mean disrupting people a second time, to medical devices that couldn’t run without power, to trips to urgent care to get relief from the smoke. I’m sure, that list doesn’t even include everything that people have experienced.
I’ve written this before during previous events but there is a certain degree of helplessness that sets in when we know that so many people are facing such difficult situations and we don’t know how to help.
As we’ve made calls to some of our ministers and church leaders in the heart of this crisis, we’ve asked, “What can we do to help?” Pray. That was the answer I received the most. And, of course, I have been praying,
Our National Setting staff has been praying too. Many of them have reached out to ask how they can help. Two of our Conference leaders are working on another concert series event to raise money for those most effected by the fires. (More on that will be published soon!) I’ve talked to people who are staying with other church members or with family. I talked to one person who had just had a celebratory dinner at her neighbor’s house after the power was restored following several days of darkness.
Disasters like fire and wind and power outages are, at best, a most difficult situation and at worst, devastating and scary. Even in the midst of the struggle, there is hope. There are people waiting to help and support. There is community when we reach out and help each other through difficult times. There is strength in standing in solidarity with one another.
We continue to pray for each person whose life has been affected by these fires. Please let us know what we can do to help and please know we stand ready to respond.
Let us pray:
Holy One, We stand in the destruction that is being created by fires raging out of our control. We know that there is little we can do to stop the spread and we count on our First Responders to do whatever they can to put an end to this devastation. We know they must be so tired, and we can only imagine how scary it is for their families and for them as they go into the fire zone day after day; hour after hour. Give them the strength they need. Envelope your people facing the loss of their homes in the protective shelter of your love and give them the endurance they need to get by. Give us the insight we need to know how to help those who are suffering the real effects of these fires. Open our eyes and our ears in new ways so we can be aware of where there is need and where we can offer presence and love. May our community be bound by ties of love and hope and healing—ties that cannot be broken. Amen.