First Pres Response to Hurricane Florence: More “Mucking and Gutting” and Restoration Plans
In response to the flooding to homes in Pender County during Hurricane Florence, a total of 35 parishioners participated in “mucking and gutting” of homes on 3 Saturdays (12 on Oct 20th, 8 on Oct 27th, and 15 on Nov 3rd). This was under the direction of Habitat for Humanity and involved removing damaged floors and cleaning out debris and mold. The houses had been flooded for days and the families lost everything—all appliances, household furnishings, and treasured possessions.
All of us worked hard during each 6-hour session and the fellowship was Presbyterianly palpable. It was especially gratifying to work beside the homeowners, who were abundantly appreciative and, despite such a huge loss, displayed unshakable hope and resilience.
To further step up our church’s commitment to assisting with the hurricane relief efforts, a “FPC Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) Host Site Ministry Team” has recently been formed under the direction of Fred Butler, Chair of the Domestic and Global Missions Committee and in partnership with the Community Services Committee. Over the next year or so First Pres will host visiting volunteers organized by the PDA who will work on restoring houses severely damaged during the hurricane. Volunteers will room and board in the “Penthouse.” Parishioners who would like to become involved in this rewarding ministry should contact Fred Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (910) 612-7143.
Here is a poem that attempts to capture a sense of this arduous journey:
“Blossoming” Through the Storm
Now Florence is a lovely name
From the Latin “blossoming”
And think of Florence Nightingale
Modern nursing she did bring.
But in September 2018
She morphed maliciously mean
And gathered up in a hateful storm
Our homeland to careen
With hurricane strength and record rain
She battered our Carolina coast
So rivers flooded inland homes
Causing damage to the utmost.
Then congregations rose to the challenge
To help their neighbors in need
Putting their faith into selfless action
Confirming their creed with deed.
Coming alongside grieving homeowners
Who’d lost every treasured possession
“Mucking and gutting” floors and walls
In neighborly loving expression
Remarkable resilience was modeled here
In the victims, despite distress
With grateful hearts and thankfulness
They evermore shall dress
At the end of the day all were weary and worn
But still donned a joyful smile
As if Florence Nightingale had returned
To nurse our sore limbs a while
Lo faith, hope, and love were waxing strong
“Blossoming” for many a mile.
The Joy of Mucking and Gutting – Help Still Needed, Come Join the Fun! Oct 27th & Nov 3rd
On Saturday October 20th, 12 First Pres parishioners participated from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in “mucking and gutting” a home in Rocky Point that had been severely flooded from Hurricane Florence. This Habitat for Humanity event involved removing damaged floors and walls and cleaning out debris and mold. The house had been flooded for days and the family lost everything—all appliances, household furnishing, and treasured possessions.
All of us worked up a healthy sweat and the fellowship was fabulous. It was especially gratifying to work beside Cynthia, the homeowner, who was abundantly appreciative and, despite such a huge loss, displayed an unshakable love and joy of the Lord. (See the photo of Cynthia carting a wheelbarrow full of wet insulation—she was smiling all day long!)
Participants included Sarah Adams and her son Ilya, Mark and Kellie Hoyt, Bob Loweth, George Scott, Bob and Cherie Michalko, Dennis Murphey, Sandy Wallace, Steve Wiley, and Chris Hayden. As you can see, youth (age 16+) youth participated and had a great time.
First Pres has committed to providing 10 parishioners to help with mucking and gutting similar homes on October 27th and on November 3rd. We especially need volunteers for Saturday October 27th. If you’d like to join us, go to http://vhub.at/firstpresbyterian to register and sign up for what will unquestionably be a richly rewarding experience. Habitat will send out a reminder the day before the event with the location and directions to the home. Trip time is about 30 minutes. For those who would like to carpool, we can meet at the church. For additional information or questions, contact Chris Hayden at email@example.com or Cell: 609-605-4955.
Habitat Moment for Mission Oct 14, 2018
One of the most meaningful scriptures for me is from the first few verses of Romans 5 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, [a]we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And [b]we exult in hope of the glory of God.3 And not only this, but [c]we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who indwells us.”
I wanted to share with you an opportunity to help restore hope to our neighbors in Pender County whose homes suffered severe flooding as a result of Hurricane Florence.
As a regular Habitat volunteer I have witnessed first hand the damage: houses that had been flooded for days have lost everything—all appliances, household furnishing, treasured possessions.
One day the homeowner Theresa and her teenage daughter Lauren worked beside us. Lauren is a gifted musician and she lost her piano, her violin, and her guitar. Yet to see their resilience, their hope, and their unbounded gratefulness was at once heartbreaking and inspiring.
Many of you have participated over the past 5 years in Habitat for Humanity’s ecumenical builds to construct new homes for hard-working, needy, and deserving families.
In response to Hurricane Florence, Habitat has temporarily shifted its focus to “mucking and gutting” homes that were flooded in Pender County. This involves removing damaged floors and walls and cleaning out debris and mold.
The Community Services Committee met on Tuesday and committed to providing 10 volunteers on 3 upcoming Saturdays to help with this endeavor: Oct 20th, Oct 27th, and Nov 3rd. Habitat will provide lunch, tools, protective clothing, and masks.
Poster boards, flyers, and signup sheets have been placed in the Gathering Space and in Gilmore Hall.
I would strongly encourage you to stop by and put your faith into action by joining us in this much needed effort,
• In coming along side our neighbors in their time of need and distress
• In helping them persevere and restoring in them hope – a hope that will not disappoint, because it is based on the love and the power of the Holy Spirit
Thank you for your consideration.
I would caution that ripping up floorboards and tearing down walls is hard work/can be a tad strenuous; but be assured, at the end of the day, you will feel exhilaratingly exhausted and richly fulfilled from having participated in this most worthy endeavor.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person…or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. (Obama)