Assistance for Hurricane Harvey
On August 24, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Gulf Coast and then crawled its way slowly toward Houston, dumping over 52 inches of rain in some areas. The flooding that ensued is some of the worst in Houston’s history, submerging entire communities and destroying thousands of homes. Many displaced by the flooding will not be able to return to their homes for months and others, on the brink of poverty before the storm, are now especially vulnerable.
In the midst of tragedy and loss, we believe the Church in Houston has a unique opportunity to minister to our city. To that end, FPC is partnering with other local churches, ministries, and relief organizations to help communities through the clean-out, relocation, rebuilding, and recovery process. As a church family we are acting to tangibly communicate Christ’s love through service that cultivates meaningful relationships and supports long-term recovery.
Harvey Response Fund
Thank you to everyone who has so generously contributed to FPC's Harvey Response Fund. To date, over $165,000 has been received. Working with Missions and our Ministry Investment Team, the Harvey Response Benevelonce Team (HRBT) has been established to review and release Hurricane Harvey relief contributions. We have been in communication with FPC ministry partners and organizations who are effectively and compassionately responding to the great need following Hurricane Harvey and related flooding. Session has just endorsed the procedures, and the HRBT will be approving release of funds this week to ministry partners and responding to requests. HRBT's strategy is to respond to FPC ministry partners responding to Harvey, other ministries and organizations connected to FPC who are effectively responding and providing specific services essential to recovery, and to individual needs of FPC Covenant Partners (members) and extended FPC family and staff. Watch for an update on allocations that will be coming soon.
Not Normal is the "New Normal"
Now that the trash is being picked up and schools are back in session, we can be tricked into a false sense of "normalcy" that is not a reality for our city as a whole. We want to continue remembering and pursuing meaningful ways to bless our community. We will be looking for ways to serve that also promote the formation of authentic relationships with hurting neighborhoods and lead to long-term ministry.
What can you do?
Hope House Thanksgiving Dinner: Sunday, November 19
Since 2008, Hope House has pursuing the transformation of the Kashmere Gardens neighborhood (near the 5th Ward) by creating Christ-centered community for people who desire to overcome the cycles of poverty and addiction. Hope House is located on 1.5 acres and own 13 small residence that provide transitional housing for community members who desire the support of the Hope House community. During Harvey, however, all 13 Hope House residences, including the Hope House ministry buildings and church buildings (along with at least 100 homes in the surrounding neighborhood), flooded, causing significance disturbance in ministry activities.
Every year Hope House hosts a community Thanksgiving meal to give residents a time of rest and fellowship, both with one another and with Hope House staff and volunteers. We want to support Hope House's much-anticipated Thanksgiving Dinner by providing face painting and games for the community's children. If you are interested in participating, please email Megan Stidham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Ways to Be Involved:
- Pray – Pray for wisdom, creativity, and opportunities to serve our city with the love of Christ. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Stop by the Flood Relief Table in Palm Court on Sunday morning if you would like a more specific prayer guide.
- Gather Your Friends – We are looking for Small Groups, Sunday School classes, or any group you are involved in to participate in community work going forward. If you have a group of any size interested in helping, email email@example.com.
Note: We will be moving away from weekly service on Saturdays and toward providing opportunities once a month. Be looking for website and E-Weekly updates for more information. If you would like to serve in the interim weeks, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several FPC members came to distribution and job sites to pray with those affected by the hurricane. The work ahead of us involves not only physical restoration, but spiritual restoration as well. We are working with the following mission and community partners to invest in local communities affected by Harvey.
- Attack Poverty (Near Northside Houston) – Attack Poverty is building its ministry to families in the Near Northside through meeting tangible needs in the wake of the hurricane. We will be going to teams to partner with Attack Poverty by repairing homes, praying with homeowners, and assessing the needs of the neighborhood. Attack Poverty's long-term goals are to partner with local schools to provide after-school programming and to have a community center that serves the neighborhood.
- City Missionaries in the Fifth Ward – City missionaries sent from a Houston-area church plant are ministering to the neighborhood by repairing homes and distributing supplies. We will be collecting supplies for the Fifth Ward and are working towards opportunities to fellowship with the people there in the holiday season. This is also a potential partnership opportunity with the Agape Property Repair Team.
- Kolter Elementary School – Located in Meyerland just outside 610, Kolter Elementary and the surrounding neighborhood was almost completely flooded. The school and its families have been displaced and teachers lost all of the books, supplies, etc. they have accumulated over the years. We also have several church members whose children attend Kolter. We are looking for opportunities to bless Kolter staff and Kolter families.
Due to space constraints, we are placing an indefinite hold on accepting other donations. Below is a list of organizations accepting donations of needed items: