On Sunday, May 4, when a severe weather system swept through the Midwest, Pierce City UCC in Missouri saw its sanctuary destroyed. "They lost the steeple and the stained glass windows, there's a hole in the roof, and one wall had to be pulled down," says the Rev. Bryan Crousore, who represents the UCC's disaster ministries network in the Missouri Mid-South Conference.
The storms affected Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Dakota and Nebraska, hitting Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee especially hard. Four tornadoes touched down in Kansas, the most powerful hitting the Kansas City area.
On Tuesday, May 6, four tornadoes swept through Metropolis, Ill., destroying two farms and four homes of members of Zion UCC. Twenty-four persons were displaced, but the church building itself remains and no one was killed, according to the Rev. Ron Ruggles, Zion UCC's pastor.
Two days later, a tornado destroyed First Christian Church in Moore, Okla. The UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have been "partner churches" since 1985.
The Rev. Frank Dietz of Zion UCC in Kansas City has set up a meal program in the church for relief workers. The UCC's One Great Hour of Sharing Offering is sending $2,000 to assist with relief efforts.
Florence Coppola is the UCC Executive for National Disaster Ministries.
Want to help?
1. Pray for people who live in communities affected by tornadoes;
2. Send gifts made out to your UCC Conference and marked in the memo portion "Tornado Recovery" to the Conference Office with a note asking them to send the gifts to the Office for Global Sharing of Resources, Wider Church Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115; or
3. Send gifts made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion "Tornado Recovery" to the same office (see above) in Cleveland.