Bellaire United Methodist Church - Finding Joy in Sorrow
The members of Bellaire United Methodist Church have been devastated by the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey, but that has not stopped them from doing all they can to comfort and help each other.
A Flood Like No Other
Associate Pastor Jim Love has lived in Houston for twenty years, and he has seen his share of flooding in Bellaire. Just three years ago his parsonage flooded, so when Hurricane Harvey roared toward Houston, Pastor Love put all of his furniture up on six-inch blocks. He was sure it would be more than enough to keep his furnishings from getting wet.
As he fled his home on Saturday night with a few precious keepsakes in his arms, the last thing he stopped to do was measure the water line. The flood waters in his home were twenty-five inches deep.
“Usually storms only hit isolated sections of the city,” Pastor Love said. “This one hit the entire city and sat on top. People are trying to get in to help us, but they can’t because the river is on one side and the reservoirs are overflowing on the other side.”
Saturday evening, as Pastor Love and his family sheltered at their next-door neighbor’s house, which had been built to withstand a thousand-year flood, he observed the eerie devastation all around him. Everywhere he looked, he saw water. Insects began climbing up the trees to safety. Next door, a stray cat was cuddled asleep under the gables of the roof of his home. All creatures were moving to higher ground.
Loving and Serving Each Other
The members of Bellaire UMC have been busy assisting each other and their community however they can as they wait for the waters to recede. Wherever possible, they are venturing out to help each other begin cleaning out their homes. They are comforting each other. Putting on a pot of coffee.
Lead Pastor Sean Duffin has created online sign-up sheets where members can either request help, or offer to give it. Members of the church who own Airbnb rentals have offered them to shelter those who are displaced. The larger shelters in Houston are calling upon Bellaire’s International Congregation to help supply translators.
This Sunday, Bellaire will open their doors to the community for a service of prayer and healing. As soon as possible, those doors will stay open so that weary neighbors who have lost everything can have a place to relax, access the internet, have a cup of coffee, or simply sit in the air conditioning.
Joy in Sorrow
Pastor Love finds tremendous comfort in the way his church has come together in love and selfless service in the most difficult of circumstances. He shares the story of one member of his church family, a man who reached out to offer what little he had with those in need.
“This guy was incarcerated for a long time. Now he is getting his life back on track. Bellaire, where the church is and where most of our members live, is an upscale area. This gentleman lives in a boarding house across town. When he heard about the flood, he contacted us. He said, ‘Come. It is dry here. I talked to my landlady. She said she wanted to house any of you who needed it.’
“And it fills my heart with joy,” Pastor Love said. “because God’s love knows no bounds.”