For churches affected by disaster, Easter brings promise of hope | Lifestyle

The Easter renewal message will be especially poignant this year for four American congregations recovering from disasters.

Their churches were destroyed by a tornado in Kentucky, destroyed by fire in New York City, shattered when Hurricane Ida hit the Louisiana coast, and filled with smoke and ash by the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. For pastors, Easter’s promise of hope couldn’t be more timely as their resilient congregations come to terms with what’s happened and prepare for what’s next.

Members of the Mayfield First United Methodist Church will not celebrate Easter in its 100-year-old sanctuary. they can not

Instead, on Easter Sunday, members will enter their temporary home, Christ United Methodist Church, to mark the holy day.

“That’s going to be tough,” the Rev. Joey Reed said. He weathered the storm at Mayfield First, wondering if he would live to officiate at his daughter’s wedding.

Reed began ministering shortly thereafter, encouraging the 100 or so members of his church to move from suffering to service. Parishioners walked through the disaster area assessing needs, handing out thousands of dollars in gift cards and helping residents salvage belongings.

“The example of Jesus Christ is the suffering servant,” he said. “When we turn away from our own difficulties…we can put aside our own pain for a minute and focus on our fellow man, who is the central force of Christianity.”

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