“Coalition of Churches of the Treasure Coast for Disaster Relief and Crisis Management”
South Florida, especially the Treasure Coast, is a geographical location in the country that is very susceptible to (be affected by) various natural disasters such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, heavy rains, floods, etc.—especially during the hurricane season. For example, during the passing of the hurricane Irma in September 2017, horrible devastations, dislodgement, and incredible suffering befell upon many families in the city of Fort Pierce and Port Saint Lucie; the effects of Irma in many homes at the Sable Chase Apartment Complex in Fort Pierce were disastrous, traumatic, and painful to observe. Many people were left homeless, lost all their belongings, and had nowhere to go; the poor and the elderly in our city were the most affected by Irma.
I was in tears but had to muster up my courage to help alleviate pain in families as well as transition them to shelters during those two long weeks experiencing the wrath of Irma and the post-hurricane impact. Fortunately, the good people at Jesus Center Community Church, where I currently serve as Pastor, and other churches in the city were able to provide urgent assistance and needing resources such as food, shelter, relocation, and accommodation to those families. The people at the Sable Chase Apartment experienced a lot of suffering and shame because there were not many churches in the area that were available to help them nor were the authorities of the city of Fort Pierce ready to accommodate the victims. Arguably, the city of Fort Pierce was not ready for that, nor does/did it have the manpower and resources to deal adequately and effectively with this human predicament.
As a result, over the past few months, I have been given serious thought about the importance for Christian churches and ministers in the Treasure Coast of Florida (i.e. Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Port St Lucie) to create a coalition of churches to deal with disaster relief and crisis management during the hurricane season. Below, I propose five objectives or reasons for churches and ministers to get involved in this “cause,” which will help assist families and individuals in need during the hurricane season in this Region.
1. For churches and spiritual leaders to be more involved in their community and city.
2. To create more sustaining and effective relationships between churches and communities.
3. For “willing” churches to put aside every quarter a special fund designated to support that cause.
4. To provide adequate mental, psychological, and spiritual assistance to those affecting by the hurricane and the individuals coping with traumatic stress and post-disaster trauma.
5. To train “willing” church members (laity) to prepare for disasters management and response training.
Should any pastor, clergy, leader, or layman/woman in the Treasure Coast have any interest in this much-needed collaboration and ministry to serve our cities and communities, please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Depending on the reception of this program, we will call for a meeting to brainstorm our ideas and eventually create this necessary-community-city-driven ministry/project.
Churches and Followers of Christ in the Treasure Coast are urgently called to love and serve their community and to be the light of the Gospel of Christ to the people in the city.