BY JEFF FINLEY
As Hurricane Sandy strengthened Monday while moving through the Atlantic Ocean toward the East Coast, Bishop David Roller shared a message of encouragement to Free Methodists in the path of the storm.
“As Hurricane Sandy begins to affect those of us who live along the East Coast, I want to remind you that the church stands with you,” Roller said. “We are asking the national Free Methodist Church to join us in praying that God will be glorified and that damage will be minimal from the storm.”
The hurricane increased in speed Sunday and Monday while heading toward millions of residents of states such as Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia.
“These days of fear and loss are a time of significant ministry for the church,” Roller said. “We have a message of hope that transcends the circumstances of life; we are joyful in spite of hurricanes!”
As financial markets closed and public officials prepared for evacuations, power outages and transportation problems, Free Methodist leaders discussed ways the church can respond to the storm that could have a serious impact on congregations in the Genesis, Keystone, Acts 12:24 (formerly known as Mid-Atlantic), New England and Pittsburgh conferences.
“Let me assure you that if you or your people are severely affected by Sandy, your church family will respond as God enables us,” Roller told Free Methodist pastors in areas forecasted to receive hurricane damage. “This is one of the advantages of a connectional church.”
If you have any prayer requests or news of how the hurricane is affecting you or your local church, please leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.
Update: We have received the following report from Superintendent David Harvey:
It seems as if no one in any of our churches was injured. Many or our people were without power and even struggling for basic food and water for a few days but all that seems to have diminished over the last day or so. There are still widespread power outages in certain locations.
We have had people experience material loss. An assistant pastor in our Brooklyn Bethlehem Haitian church lost his car in the flood. The hardest hit was our Long Branch, NJ Brazilian Church in which four families were flooded and have lost everything. The pastor had 5 1/2 feet of water in his house and has lost everything. This church rents from a United Methodist Church which is just a few blocks from the beach so we assume that building has sustained damage also, but the last time I talked with our pastor he had not been able to get a report on the Church building.
Update: Pastor Ron Hampton and his Takin it to the Streets ministry will be leading a trip to help people affected in Garfield, N.J. Learn more about how you can be involved in their efforts…