Early Update on Hurricane Michael
Hurricane Michael devastated communities in the Florida Panhandle. Our CAMA team is in contact with Alliance districts who have several churches in these hard-hit areas.
Phil Lohmeyer, Coordinator of Disaster Response Ministries for the Alliance Central District, often assists CAMA with disaster response in the USA. He will travel to Florida on Monday to assess the damage of our church family’s homes and communities. He will travel with Phil Hagar, a district superintendent.
As of today, it seems our area of focus for recovery efforts will be in or nearby Panama City and Tallahassee.
Here are the latest damage reports and prayer requests from our Alliance family:
From Alfredo Gutierrez, superintendent-elect of the Alliance Southeast District:
“Chris and Cindy Greaves, pastoral couple of Piedmont Park Alliance Church in Tallahassee, Florida, said they are fine but are without power and have weak cell phone reception. Chris reported from the church property that branches are down and there’s a sketchy cell signal and no power. The elders are reaching out to their congregation, and some people have damage.
“Pastors in North Florida are reporting little to no damage. Pastors on St. George Island, Florida, have reported some damage. Please keep praying as we assess the damages and how to help them best.”
From Phil Hagar, superintendent of the Southern District:
“As far as we know as of Wednesday night, our two churches in Panama City (which was in the bulls-eye of Hurricane Michael when it came ashore) sustained only minor damages. Heritage Bible Church suffered several broken windows, awnings that were blown off, minor roof damage, downed trees and branches, etc. The Historic St. Andrews Church also suffered minor wind damage but little or no water damage. Many of the streets are impassable, and it has not been possible to get to the church building yet to assess damages.
“Many of the church people in both congregations were not as fortunate. Richard and Karen Duncan’s home (Richard pastors the Historic Saint Andrews Church) incurred minor water and roof damage, but their yard suffered notable destruction.
“Brian and Rachel Rice (Brian pastors Heritage Bible Church) sustained significant damage to their home. Their screened-in pool enclosure was decimated, as was their kids’ backyard playhouse and fencing around their property, which was completely blown away. Additionally, a portion of their roof was blown off and is now completely open to the outdoors. Several in the Heritage Bible Church congregation have lost huge portions of their roofs, while others closer to the Gulf have homes that, in all likelihood, are under water.
“It will be a day or two before anyone is allowed back into many of the neighborhoods/areas where significant damage has occurred. Both Brian and Richard say the entire area looks like a ‘war zone!’
“The good news is that I have received no reports of injuries, for which we are thankful.
“Please pray for God’s protection and safety upon the pastors and families of the five Alliance churches in Hurricane Michael’s path. Also, pray for all of the people who are facing the uncertainty and apprehension of this natural disaster.”