Disaster Ministries Respond to Communities Hit by Tornadoes in East Texas
On Saturday, April 13, 2019, several severe storms swept across the Texas Annual Conference as the southern edge of the season’s second “Bomb Cyclone” moved east across the south-central US.
Franklin, about 45 minutes north of College Station was hit hard as a confirmed tornado moved through Robertson County. Initial reports indicated that over 20 residences had sustained severe damage. Multiple injuries were also reported. Almost immediately, Rev. Polly Standing began coordinating with West District Superintendent Rev. Wanda Bess, and Rev. Tommy Myrick, a pastor at Christ UMC- College Station and a volunteer with TAC Disaster Ministries.
Standing, Bess, and Myrick began passing information to Rev. Scott Moore, Director of the Center for Missional Excellence. Disaster Ministries began mobilizing resources and personnel and, within a couple of hours lay volunteer Rick Carpenter from FUMC Huntsville was on the way to Franklin driving a truck and trailer loaded with tools and equipment, tarps, cleaning kits, and hygiene kits.
Approximately seven other volunteers from FUMC Conroe, A&M UMC in College Station, and Wildwood UMC in Magnolia were packing their bags, readying their personal gear, and preparing to deploy to Franklin at first light on Sunday. As these preparations and deployments were taking place, Standing and the members of Franklin UMC were opening their doors to county officials as a staging and triage location for first responders and preparing to open as a community shelter if needed.
As these events were unfolding, word came in from East District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Dick White, that the town of Alto had been struck by two tornadoes causing significant damage. As of sundown on Saturday assessments were still underway. TAC Disaster Ministries has been placed on “standby,” ready to deploy personnel and resources if requested.
Texas Annual Conference churches are preparing resources and teams to help their neighbors in need and will respond to aid their communities as soon as it is apparent what the needs are and how they can best step up to help.
The Texas Annual Conference Disaster Ministries Team works side-by-side with churches affected by disasters and mobilizes resources and volunteers when necessary. For more information on how your church can help with the East Texas storms or any other disaster, contact the Rev. Scott Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.