I wanted to update you on the latest that's happening with relief efforts for hurricane victims down south. As was reported to you at the end of October, operations have been moved from the New Orleans area to south Florida where some OPC churches had been affected by Hurricane Wilma. Cleanup work has been going on for the last couple of weeks at Fellowship OPC in Lake Worth, FL, where Harry Stanke is the pastor. This week that operation will be closing down and the OPC as a denomination will end its current relief effort. The reasons for this are numerous but among them are the amount of time and manpower needed for ongoing, on-site coordination of work being done. Also, volunteers are available but when they're coming long distances they don't always have the transportation necessary, so team numbers are declining. Several of us who had planned on being down south to help during the week of Thanksgiving will now be working with Dave Haney, the denominational coordinator, to move vehicles and equipment back up to Philadelphia for storage.
There are still ways that you can help. Our presbytery has its own hurricane relief committee made up Steve Igo, Tom Wolfe and myself. Last week Wednesday, in conjunction with LOVE INC., we sent a semi-truck load of furniture down to Trinity PCA in Slidell, LA and we might be doing more of that. Steve is working closely with the pastor of Trinity, Keith Garehan, and we are looking at sending volunteer work teams down there next spring and summer. There will be more on that in the future.
If you are interested and available for something more immediate, LOVE INC., located in Hudsonville, Michigan, is organizing teams now to go down south on a weekly basis. Their number is 616-662-3300. You can contact them directly or talk to me.
The need is still there, we just have to find out the best ways to fill it. Please continue to pray for the different areas of work that continue, for the people of Trinity PCA and Fellowship OPC as they minister to their own members and neighbors through the ongoing cleanup and rebuilding.
Your brother in Christ,
Jim Baum, Deacon
Presbytery of Michigan and Ontario Hurricane Relief Committee
(To see some photos of one of the OPC hurricane relief teams, click here)