On September 15th 2018, the lives of the people and communities of coastal North Carolina were radically changed. A (not-so-much) lady named Florence paid a three day visit, and left behind her devastation that expanded for the next week: water falling, water rising, and, due to saturated grounds, water with nowhere to go. The after-effects were mold, rot, and loss of property, economy, energy and spirit.
The damage experienced by Hampstead United Methodist Church was almost total. Ceilings and insulation dissolved into blobs on the floors. Walls quickly turned black, as did wooden interiors. Remediation cost was many times that which was first expected. Relief was not forthcoming.
Then the United Methodist Church sprang into action. Financial gifts from the NC Conference were brought; large gifts were received from churches and people that we would never meet. Churches in Texas who had experienced Hurricane Harvey were most generous. NC churches held spaghetti dinners, and took up Sunday School offerings; a coastal Mississippi church children’s group sent stars of hope, which lifted wounded spirits.
Blair Road UMC from Mint Hill NC called, and said they wanted to “adopt” HUMC! Christmas Eve offerings came in; cups filled with candy arrived. Again and again, the hearts of our church family were moved, and blessed. And when Blair Road called and said they wanted to bring a caravan of their members along with literally a ton of frozen chicken breasts and provide a picnic for us as a fund-raiser, once again, we were humbled and blessed. Then one of our members asked “Can’t we offer the proceeds to the church down Highway 17?”
Ever since Florence, the facility at St John’s Church of Christ had been wearing a “blue roof”. It was obvious that their damage was similar to ours. We had people we didn’t know who were giving to us -- God was now giving us an opportunity for us to give to our neighbors! Blair Road was approached on the possibility, and their joy was as quick as ours!
After contacting the church family at St John’s, “Sister Ann” Toby and several other members entered the discussion, and the church is participating in the outcome. The picnic will be held June 8th from 11am to 2pm. Suggested donations of $10 will receive grilled chicken breast, mac’n’cheese, cole slaw, tea/water and dessert, eat in or carry out. We will also sell chicken breasts by themselves, to take home for later. All proceeds will be given to the rebuilding fund at St John’s.
From far away and right here at home, this is the family of God helping the family of God! The Hampstead/Pender community is invited to participate!