Life Returning to Normal in Some Storm Areas

Post a Comment » Written on September 25th, 2008     
Filed under: News
HOUSTON, TX (September 25, 2008) – Life slowly is returning to normal for members of Evangelical Covenant churches here as the area continues to rebound from Hurricane Ike, but much work remains, area pastors said Wednesday.

Covenant churches in and around the city held services on Sunday even though some did not have power. “We actually had one of our largest crowds ever,” said Bryan Beaver, pastor of Faith Covenant Church.

People have been confined inside their houses for much of the time since the storm, and the church service gave them the opportunity to reconnect, Beaver said.

Anywhere between 70 and 80 percent of the area now has power, pastors say. John Fagg, pastor of Hope Community Covenant Church, still has no electricity 11 days after the storm.

“It’s getting pretty old,” he said. “You forget how much you value lights after sunset. When the sun goes down, your day is done. But those are the small problems compared to others.”

Access Covenant Church, a new work, met despite having no electricity. “We’re just making the best of what we have,” said Ted Law, pastor of the new church plant. “The service was okay, but it was hot.”

Garth Bolinder, superintendent of the Midsouth Conference, worshiped with three of the churches on Sunday. “People are still trying to get their equilibrium,” he said.

Nearly every home sustained wind damage, pastors said. Trees remain down and numerous fences were knocked over.

“People in the fence business are going to make a lot of money,” quipped Ed Lee, pastor of Mosaic Covenant Church in Missouri City.

Hope Community will have a work day on Saturday to remove fallen tree branches from its property. Winds ripped several 40-foot-tall trees in half.

The secondary effects of Ike still are being felt. A single mother with two children who attends Faith Community lost her job when the company she worked for had to close, Beaver said.

Beaver, who has traveled between Lubbock and Houston to get food staples for members of his congregation, said the needs are changing as people began to focus on repairing their homes.

He has spent 10 hours on the phone with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and also has contacted organizations such as the Red Cross trying to determine the best way the church can help others as well as itself.

“The damage south of us was widespread,” Beaver said. “It’s challenging to figure out where to start.”

The ABC-TV affiliate in Lubbock ran a news story on Beaver’s efforts to help the people of his church after spotting the Covenant News Service story on the Covenant website, he said. The Houston affiliate also picked up the story. As a result, several churches have offered to send work teams in the future.

Because traffic signals still don’t work, getting around the city remains a challenge, Beaver said. The pastor normally travels 45 minutes to a class on Mondays, but it took more than three hours this week. “I missed most of the class.”

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