June 1, 2009
Update on hurricane recovery from South Central Conference.
The backbone of Disaster Ministry in
Partners in Service (PinS) volunteers serve as site managers and office assistants in New Orleans. They have been present in this ministry since its inception. Recently there were a number of volunteers in New Orleans at one time. Two couples came back specifically for the Church World Service build and another couple is serving in a different capacity. The woman is working as a PinS volunteer with another organization in New Orleans associated with long term recovery and her husband is serving as interim pastor of a UCC church in New Orleans. Since there were so many volunteers in town, it was a wonderful opportunity to get together for a meal, fellowship and to share how and why God brought them to work in New Orleans. PinS volunteers are the backbone of the ministry in New Orleans. We give God thanks for working in their hearts to send them to this place and at this time.
Church World Service Build
For one month just after Easter there was a focus of rebuilding twelve homes funded by ten partner denominations of Church World Service. A particular neighborhood, Little Woods, was selected because of the damage to the neighborhood by Hurricane Katrina and the overall need in that neighborhood for homes to be rebuilt. Projects were identified by the Crescent Area Recovery Effort (CARE), the long term recovery committee of Orleans Parish. Six out of the ten denominations have a rebuilding ministry in New Orleans Each of the six denominations is responsible for two homes including the UCC Disaster Ministry. Meetings were held every week in the neighborhood in preparation for the build and to help the denominations coordinate the projects. Each denomination was allowed 12-15 volunteers per week to work on the project. All four weeks volunteers were intermingled with each other so that there was a true ecumenical feel to the project. At the end of the month there was a dedication of a home. All volunteers were invited to attend the dedication which included music by the Treme Brass Band and a second line parade to the home from a nearby city park. All of the homes were at least at the insulation and sheetrock stage at the beginning of the month. The homes should be completed by the middle of July, perhaps with one or two exceptions. This is the first time Church World Service has attempted this type of project. It will be used as a model in future disasters to show how God’s people can work together for a common good. The bottom line, Twelve families return to a safe, secure, comfortable home. Amen to that!
Top ten reasons to come to New Orleans in September
· Cheaper airfare
· Prime alligator spotting time
· There are no festivals
· Know what it is like to live in a terrarium
· Cheap car rental
· No one else is
· No snow
· Have the opportunity to evacuate with 100,000 of your newest friends
· Help a family return home
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone in whom the whole building , being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in who you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22
Rebuilding Homes, Rebuilding Hope
135 Sauve Road
River Ridge, La 70123