On Monday, January 16th – a day recognized for celebrating the life and leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 11 young clergy, seminarians, student pastors and families from across the Annual Conference traveled to Lumberton, NC to serve toward relief following Hurricane Matthew.
The team traveled to Chestnut Street UMC to receive a warm welcome from the Disaster Response team based in Lumberton. Traveling approximately one mile across the Lumber River, the group attended to a home in need of final preparation ahead of rebuilding.
Cabinets were pulled down, duct work cleared out from under the house, and insulation carried out and across the street for removal. In addition, the chimney stood in need of demolition, and bricks were carried down one by one. Though the home owner was not present, as is sometimes the case, a friend came to speak with the team lead and shared his gratitude for the work and attention to the house. A levee breach across the street caused significant flooding of this home and neighboring houses, with water rising several feet above ground level. Mold quickly developed and continues to ravage this and many other homes in the surrounding area. By the efforts of this and other teams attending to residual damage, the Disaster Response team within this Annual Conference is nearing a new chapter of rebuilding in the weeks and months to come.
For some, it is through similar mission work that a call to serve the Lord through ordained ministry was cultivated and clarified. The extreme devastation following Hurricane Katrina across Mississippi and Louisiana provided opportunities for many young adults to experience the transforming work of Christ by attending to those in need of tangible signs of hope and love. Upon further reflection, the call to equip others to serve in such ways led several of these young clergy to consider attending seminary.
By coming together as acquaintances, the experience of working alongside fostered new relationships and a renewed fervor to be the hands and feet of Christ. The NCCUMC Young Clergy are planning additional opportunities to serve neighbors throughout eastern North Carolina.
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