July 9, 2010
36 tornadoes went through Minnesota on June 17 – Wadena, is one of the towns impacted by these unprecedented storms. Following the tornadoes of June 17, Bob Broeder, UCC Minnesota Conference Disaster Response Coordinator began to check on UCC members and church facilities. While no UCC church facilities were damaged, several families homes' were destroyed or significantly damaged.
The UCC has sent $2,000 to the First Congregational UCC in Wadena to assist with immediate needs of families impacted. These funds come from the One Great Hour of Sharing special fund Emergency USA.
The first update from pastor Bob Griggs that came in the week after the tornado is shared here:
A quick update from Wadena. I think, one way or the other, I've heard from all our parishioners. We have three families, two member families and one regular visitor, who've lost their homes and one member whose apartment was destroyed. The regular visitor also lost his business.
No one in our church was injured and, miraculously only two people in town remain hospitalized from the storm, neither critical. 232 homes in Wadena suffered significant damage, the community center and fair grounds were destroyed, the high school may be a total loss, the cemetery is a shambles, and several businesses no longer exist. One church was significantly damaged.
We're busy as a church trying to help one another and our community. In one way or the other, 25 surrounding communities have been here to help. I've been in touch with Bob Broeder to coordinate conference disaster relief and Church World Service, thanks to Bob, which is sending 200 clean up kits with the promise of more aid as needed.
Please keep us in your prayers.
First Congregational UCC, Wadena
A letter to the member of First Congregational UCC in Wadena from Bob Broeder is shared here:
Dear UCC folks of Wadena and surrounding area:
You have gone through some traumatic days only which I can imagine. So I can't place myself in your shoes but what I have done as the Minnesota Conference UCC Disaster Coordinator is respond as I would so hope others would do if I were in your shoes.
As Pastor Griggs has probably shared I sought to contact him the night of the disaster after I heard what had happened to your community and surrounding area. The next day as communications improved we were able to talk on the phone. Since that time have been in contact either by phone or email with him.
Further the UCC is a participant in the MNVOAD (Minnesota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). Thus each day since the storms have sought to be on those conference calls stepping in where we could be of assistance. MNVOAD are the private organizations that are there in times of disasters before the federal funds come in. So Clean Up buckets from Church World Service (CWS) were ordered and sent. They arrived in time for the volunteers who came in the prior weekend to help clean up.
This assistance is part of our One Great Hour of Sharing Offering we receive each year. Also as part of OGHS our National Office of Disasters for the UCC was able to send financial support to assist families of the congregation whose homes have become inhabitable. Also word went out throughout the Conference for volunteers to come and assist; and this happened.
So even though we may not know actually your pain, we as the members of the Minnesota Conference wish to walk the path with you now and as you go into the future.
The Rev. Robert F. Broeder
Minnesota Conference UCC
Volunteer Disaster Coordinator
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1. Pray for people who live in communities affected by tornadoes.
2. To help those affected by disasters you may, send gifts payable to your congregation marked for OGHS special fund Emergency USA with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.
3. Send gifts, made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion OGHS special fund Emergency USA to UCC Financial Services; Wider Church Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
4. Make a secure on-line donation Donate Now