As I write this, I can see smoke out my window and I am reminded of the places in our Conference where the smoke is much worse and where it is accompanied by very dangerous fire. I think about those places where our siblings in other churches and their neighbors and friends are evacuating from their beloved homes. I think of how they must be feeling—the fear, the exhaustion.
Fire season gets longer and more dangerous every year. There is nothing we can do to stop it. We cannot even predict where the next fire will erupt.
What has brought me great hope is the way I have seen so many ways that we support and partner with one another when it gets hard. Rev. Davena Jones, was sharing with me this morning about the partnership with our Disaster Ministries Team, the Disaster Ministries Team of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and our National Setting Disaster Ministries staff who have all been meeting regularly to talk about how to support those churches who have members evacuated and are in the fire danger area. She shared about Pilgrim Congregational UCC Church in Redding and First Congregational Church UCC in Auburn and the ways they are offering support to those who have had to leave their homes and their pets.
I am filled with hope when I hear this because I am reminded that we are a community that cares. We are a community that shows up when others are in need. We’ve learned many lessons from previous fire years—what is needed in the immediate crisis and how to help those in need throughout the struggle. We’ve learned our lessons the hard way—from the place of crisis—from the midst of fire.
What emerges is hope and possibility. We pray for all those affected by the fire. We listen for our call as to how we can help in a difficult situation. We take the foundation of what it means to be a faith community that looks to God for our strength. We mixed all those things together and always remember that we are God’s people and we serve one another in love when they need it the most.