Dear Partners in Mission:
Over the last week the entire territory of NT-NL has endured cold temperatures and frozen precipitation at levels and for periods of time that have not been seen in years. In addition the infrastructure intended to provide heat, water, and power failed in many areas. This has had dire consequences and cost human lives. It has taken a toll on facilities including homes, businesses, and churches.
My staff and I have been connecting with leaders across the synod checking in and assessing the damage this storm caused. And the damage is significant. Indeed lives have been lost or injuries sustained. Individuals have lost homes and apartments, possessions destroyed by water damage or fire. As of my writing this I am aware of 10 NT-NL congregational facilities that have sustained damage of varying levels. Some damaged to the point that it will take much time to repair them for occupancy. We are available and offering assistance to those communities as appropriate.
Briarwood did experience broken water pipes as well when power failed. However, the onsite crew was prepared and has worked diligently to mitigate damage and already begin repairs. Additionally, the insurance adjuster commended both the staff and the design and construction of the Christ Leadership Center. Had staff acted less quickly and/or the building designed less well he believed the sprinkler system might have failed and the building completely flooded. So we give thanks for the foresight of those who planned and executed that construction.
Buildings can be rebuilt. More important always are the lives impacted, neighbors are served. In these check-ins I have heard stories of families opening their doors to one another, food and water being shared abundantly, firewood delivered to chilly apartments, donations being made to our synod disaster fund, new connections between congregations fostered as pastors and lay leaders check on their congregation members as well as those of other congregations, literally saving lives.
This is the work of Christian love and service. To love and care for our neighbor in all times, but particularly in time of trouble. We stand together in our work and our mission and that work will continue as lives are rebuilt and communities sustained. Across our territory opportunities to be generous abound and we will be collecting and sharing those as we are made aware of them.
God’s peace be with you all in this challenging time. We grieve our losses, including now over 500,000 lives lost to Covid-19, and yet we give thanks for the ways in which we are able to share and receive God’s abundance. May you continue to have a blessed and holy Lent.