Our country and our world have been experiencing an inordinate amount of natural disasters. Needless to say our help is desperately needed. The World Service team is hosting an Emergency Cleanup Bucket & Hygiene Kit drive through Sunday 10/22.  These kits are distributed throughout the country and the world to those most in need, by Church World Service. There are many ways to participate, both individually or to partner with someone: Small groups?  Church School?  Middle High and Senior High?  Teams?  This can be a meaningful project to adopt and it takes minimal time and effort.  We have asked the schools to partner with us in this project, and will be publicizing the drive to the local community as well.  Collection points are the church and the home of Nancy Protzmann 14 Candlewood Drive.  Please see item donation lists at right.  If you are interested in learning more about this project please contact Nancy Protzmann (321-7099) or go to Church World Service Kits.

The letter below was written by Sr. Pastor Dick Leavitt after Hurricane Harvey:
Dear CCA Friends and Members,

Most of us have been distraught and riveted by the pictures and news reports in the wake of Hurricane Harvey this past week.   Watching the frail, the elderly and families with young children struggling against the flood currents; seeing emergency boats navigating the streets in search of more victims to rescue; is wrenching and surreal.   Many folks are leaving with just the few possessions they can carry, or with beloved pets tucked under their arms, or with nothing at all except the clothes on their backs, while their homes are swallowed by the rising water.

Debbie and I spent an intern year community organizing in Houston when I was in seminary many years ago.  And while we haven’t kept close contact with most of the folks from that place, we remember it well.  There were many dear people who befriended us that year.  Even back then, whenever even two inches of rain fell there was often incredible flooding throughout the city.  Thirty, forty or fifty inches of rain in one multi-day storm is simply unimaginable.

There are many reputable relief organizations that are requesting donations to help with the recovery that will surely be needed for many months and years to come.  But there are also some who will prey upon the well-intentioned by siphoning donations or spending the money poorly.  If you have an agency you already trust, that’s great.

Give generously!  Two avenues of support I often utilize at times like these are our UCC Disaster Relief Ministries (http://www.ucc.org/disaster_hurricane_harvey)  and Church World Service (https://cwsglobal.org/).  Both are organizations proven trustworthy, they utilize the network of churches already on the ground in these places of disaster, and they target the funds and aid to the particular disaster you specify.  We have about two dozen UCC churches in the Houston area already.  Many of them will be stepping up to help with relief efforts.  Church World Service is the ecumenical network that we often support with Blankets Plus Sunday and our annual CROP Walk.

The United Church of Christ web site suggests several things you can do to help with relief efforts:

  1. Pray for all the families and individuals affected by this tragedy, including the rescue, relief, and medical workers.
  2. Make a monetary contribution for ongoing emergency and relief efforts.
  3. Consider gathering items to send in CWS Emergency Clean Up Buckets (sponges, disinfectant, gloves, etc.—there’s a list)  (We did this several years ago following an earlier disaster).
  4. Plan for a possible volunteer work effort to help cleanup and rebuild people’s homes once the infra-structure to support outside groups is re-established (some months from now).  (We sent an adult team to Florida several years ago following Hurricane Hugo.  Our SHYG goes on mission trips regularly for this type of volunteer work.)

If you would like to make a donation to either or both of these organizations and have us send it along, feel free to write a check to CCA with “Hurricane Harvey Relief” in the memo line.  When one suffers, we all suffer.  When one is lifted up, we all rejoice.  I hope you will give generously, and continue to lift our brothers and sisters in prayer.  And may God be praised through every generous, caring act of love.

Grace and peace,