Our friends and family in Fort McMurray experienced a trifecta of challenge this spring. Already faced with a combination of a spreading global pandemic and economic hardship with falling oil prices, the community went into emergency status as spring ice blocked the river and caused major flooding in the lower parts of the city. The CRC congregation of Evergreen was fortunate to be located on high ground and did not sustain damage but some families in the congregation were displaced and life has gotten more challenging for them and their neighbouring communities. They are facing the loss of local support systems, food supply chains are affected and getting basic resources has become unpredictable. It is estimated that they are facing a boil water order for the near future; maybe even through the summer.
So in response, with urging from brothers and sisters around our Classis, we were able to mount a collective effort to help and bless Evergreen CRC and its community. After a highly successful collection, a safe round trip to Fort McMurray and contributions from many people (and generous congregations) we all want to say THANK YOU! A special thanks to Pastor Bruce who helped with a lot of organizing and energy, and Norm and Mark for driving the shipment.
Many Classis Alberta North churches contributed goods, cash, or collections and the support has been amazing. Pastor Josh has expressed his appreciation and feeling of being connected and supported by the larger CRC body. Here are a few pictures of items loaded into a huge trailer that were delivered to Evergreen CRC. This help blesses the congregation AND helps the congregation bless their community.
Check out the linked video made by our friends at The River Community CRC who did so much work on the ground to make this happen.
After a week and a half, I spoke with Pastor Josh for an update. They still have goods from the stockpile shipment and so far, have been able to use it to bless neighbours as well as partner non-profits. They have been able to contribute food to help feed a hundred or so volunteers in the past week and some of the partnering relief organizations have been able to call on them for access to much needed supplies. They have also been able to help a family who found themselves without insurance, to get the basics of stable housing back up and running, by getting the electricity, gas and hot water supply reconnected.
Samaritans Purse is officially wrapping up their time at Fort McMurray so things may shift in the next few weeks without them around helping but we will stay in touch to see what happens. For now, if your church has collected money to support long term needs for Evergreen church, you can either send it directly to them, or make it out to NADC (with Ft.McMurray flood in memo line).
Pastor Josh feels blessed to be a source of support and resource for the community and is deeply thankful for the larger CRC body to be helping and blessing them. They have been able to help in ways that they did not before and share the love of Jesus to folks who simply ask why would you do something like this for me?
NADC will stay connected to Evergreen, World Renew and Diaconal Ministries, to follow-up with future needs, but let me know if there are any questions and I can keep you in touch if things change.