Watching the news this week has been painful. Hurricane Harvey just won’t go away, and the devastation left from Corpus Christi to Houston is heartbreaking for all of us. For me, it has felt really personal. I graduated from Beeville High School–just 60 miles inland of Corpus. Those small towns that were hit in the initial landing of the hurricane were football and basketball rivals for my alma mater.
Yet what has made these last few days more painful for me has been knowing that a good number of my sister-ministers live in the area. Their churches were damaged and took on water. Some members of their congregations have lost everything. These women are standing and will keep standing on the front lines of recovery efforts.
I have been checking on two of these friends via Facebook and text messages, and today as I prayed about how I could help, what I could do, I realized that we as sister-ministers need each other. We need to stand with each other and offer support and care.
Many of you know ministers and churches who will need your help, but if you don’t where to send your support and you want to reach out and help, here are the names and situations of my two friends:
My friend, Jewel London, is on staff at The Church Without Walls in Houston. She is one of the most amazing ministers I know. She is her name–a treasured Jewel, and in these last few days she has been busy ministering and caring for her congregation and preparing for long-term relief efforts. Here are some suggestions that her church posted on Facebook about ways that those of us outside of Houston can do to help:
Here are some things you can do RIGHT NOW as we prepare to provide much needed stability to those affected:
• Continue praying for Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, government officials, and first responders as they work around the clock to rescue stranded citizens and get them to a shelter.
• Dig up those gift cards that you have not used and be ready to donate them to the cause. Walmart, Visa, MasterCard, Target, etc. These cards will be useful to families who will need to start over.
• Be ready to support the #HARVEY effort with contributions to TCWW, Red Cross, and the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
• If your employer is willing to donate resources: volunteers, food, finances, etc. please notify TCWW leadership. Start making a list of people to contact about helping us to help others.
If you want to support a sister-minister and her congregation as they provide care to those in need, visit The Church Without Walls website.
Another friend, Becky Jackson, is minister of music at Lexington Baptist Church in Corpus Christi. Until late last night, her home had been without electricity since Friday night. The roof on her church was damaged during Harvey’s landfall, and yet Becky was there at the church on Sunday morning, leading a small group who worshiped on the sidewalk in front of the church. Hers is a giving spirit, a loving heart, and she has been a source of comfort for many in her congregation and neighborhood.
Today when I asked what was needed in her community, Becky wrote this:
“We are in desperate need of socks, athletes foot powder, and blister band-aids for all the first responders. We have trucks and crews who will use our church parking lot as a staging ground to go help in Rockport and Port Aransas. Pray that those of us without power get it back asap. Hard to help when we’re struggling. Today is the first it has gotten hot.”
You can support the relief efforts that Becky and her church will lead by giving to the Benevolence Fund at Lexington Baptist Church’s online portal.
I plan to give to support the work these two sister-ministers will be doing in the next months and even years. They will be doing brutally beautiful ministry, and I want to be part of what they are doing!
Pam Durso is executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.