Nazarenes on the ground in Oklahoma, will you help?
Children and families held each other close today in thankfulness after yesterday’s massively destructive tornado ravaged Moore, Oklahoma. Though many of Moore’s 56,000 residents have lost most of their worldly possessions, people are expressing joy as they reunite with family members and learn that over 100 have been pulled from the rubble so far. Still, there are 24 confirmed deaths as a result of the tornado, including nine children, with a chance that the number will increase as rescue and recovery efforts continue.
Yesterday afternoon, the Church of the Nazarene started mobilizing relief efforts. Oklahoma City Trinity Church of the Nazarene has been designated the relief resource center for both the Southwest Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Districts. In addition to Moore, which is on the Southwest Oklahoma District, several towns on the Oklahoma District were also touched by tornadoes. Trinity initially opened its doors as an emergency shelter but now is receiving donations for efforts beyond its walls as it coordinates relief services through local Nazarene congregations and collaborates with organizations such as the American Red Cross and Heart to Heart International. They will also be coordinating volunteers to do cleanup as the days progress.
General Superintendent Stan Toler, former pastor of Trinity Church of the Nazarene, traveled to Moore today visiting the destruction zone as well as Nazarenes there. The pastor of the Moore Church of the Nazarene has been located and is safe, but the church structure has suffered significant damage: the steeple blown off, roof damage, and debris all over the churchyard.
At neighboring Norman Community Church of the Nazarene, three parishioners lost their homes. According to Pastor Brent Hardesty, the church is ready to respond to surround these families.
“We will be working with these three families but also want to be involved in the overall response,” Hardesty said.
This is the heart of many inside and outside the affected region. Churches in Arizona have sent over 800 crisis care kits to the scene. Closer to home, the Oklahoma District, West Texas District, and Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene have donated 135 cases of crisis care kits. Nazarenes around the world have donated money to tornado relief, and others have started to make plans to volunteer as a part of the clean up efforts.
There is still time to join in sharing hope with those whose lives have been turned upside down. Donate online here or send a check to the Church of the Nazarene’s US Tornado Relief Fund. Those interested in volunteering in cleanup efforts should register at Nazserve.org under Oklahoma Tornado Relief and await further instruction as teams are allowed in. Those who want to send crisis care kits before May 28 should ship them to: Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene, 4400 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City, OK 73116, Attn: Tamara Hewes. After May 28, please send crisis care kits to one of the CCK NCM Warehouses
Please click here to send your donation for the tornado relief so that we can partner with the local churches in Oklahoma to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this time of desperate need.