Recently the EPC Committee on Administration (COA) authorized relief accounts to receive donations in response to two disasters: Hurricane Sandy and the Indianapolis Explosion. Churches connected to the EPC are at the center of relief efforts in both of these disaster areas.
In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy produced death and destruction from the Caribbean up the eastern seaboard. Our churches in the Bahamas reported damage there was minor. New York City and New Jersey were hard hit. Park Slope-Brooklyn, NY, a church being received into the Presbytery of the East, has been heavily engaged in relief work. The church has mobilized their “Mercy Teams,” who are especially focused on finding temporary housing for those displaced by flooding. Associate Pastor Brian Steadman is directly overseeing relief efforts, which is focused on helping victims living on Coney Island. (Photo: Brian Steadman on Coney Island)
Currently, housing facilities for volunteer relief workers is not available. Senior Pastor Matt Brown (Park Slope) reported that among the many special challenges Park Slope faces, the lack of housing facilities is one: 1) Beyond rented office space, the church does not have permanent facilities that could accommodate relief efforts. Among those with facilities with which Park Slope is ministering is Inglesia El Tabernacalo Assembly of God Church on Coney Island. 2) Housing facilities for volunteer relief workers is currently non-existent in Brooklyn. FEMA workers are being housed up to two hours away from the disaster area.
The first distribution from the EPC Disaster Relief fund will help Park Slope purchase and install a 10×40 foot trailer that will serve as the headquarters for the relief effort on Coney Island. Once this headquarters is established, the next goal will be to make arrangements for volunteers to come to help. As the EPC becomes aware of available volunteer relief workers facilities, we will post this information in future issues of EPNews.
Two EPC “veterans” of disasters in the United States were sent to New York by the COA to consult with and encourage EPC leaders and workers. Cliff Mansley, pastor of New Creation-Joplin, MO (tornado) visited on November 5-10. Home Missionary Kevin Brown, executive director of Trinity Christian Community-New Orleans, LA (Hurricane Katrina) visited on November 15-17.
Matt Brown (Park Slope) called the EPC General Assembly Office on November 16. He expressed appreciation to the EPC for sending Cliff Mansley (photo: Cliff Mansley far right with staff of Park Slope) to help earlier in the month. Additionally he said, Kevin Brown “has been very, very helpful. He’s been a great resource to us.” He concluded, “Thank you for thinking of us and caring about us. We’re hard at work, very tired but energized by God and the good things He’s doing in our congregation.”
Closer to God EPC-Newark, NJ and its community was not directly affected by Hurricane Sandy. It is working to mobilize its congregation to help with relief efforts in New Jersey and New York City.
On Saturday, November 10, a house exploded in a neighborhood less than two miles from Southport Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, IN. Two people were killed, as many as five homes were destroyed and up to 80 homes were damaged by the explosion. The Southport Presbyterian Church campus is located less than two miles from the disaster area. It is serving as the primary temporary shelter for those left homeless by the blast. It is also the primary distribution center of relief supplies (Photo: Distribution Center). The congregation has been mobilized since November 11 to serve and help hurting people in the blast area. At the initial gathering of people from the affected area, 100% of the residents voted to have Southport provide the leadership for the relief effort.
Joplin tornado veteran Cliff Mansley visited Southport on November 15-17. He reported that Senior Pastor Rob Hock, who started at Southport less than 90 days ago, has handled this crisis with “poise and composure.”
Rob Hock thanked the EPC for sending Cliff, saying “With his experience Cliff was an incredible resource and huge help to us. He especially encouraged us to keep the spiritual dimension before us as we respond to this crisis in people’s lives.”
Please be encouraged to give generously, either by credit card or check:
Check: Payable to “Evangelical Presbyterian Church” – be sure to designate Hurricane Sandy Relief or Indianapolis Relief. Mail to:
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
ATTN: (designate Hurricane Sandy Relief or Indianapolis Relief)
17197 N. Laurel Park Drive, Suite 567
Livonia, MI 48152