Pastor Reflects on Damage from Gulf Oil Spill

FOLEY, AL (June 25, 2010) – Bob Simmons, pastor of New Covenant Church, laments that the oil gushing from 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico is just the latest in a series of disasters that threaten an entire way of life.

“Daddy used to take us swimming in the fifties in the gulf,” he recalls. “We could swim for hours and see no one else on the beach. The dunes were huge, the surf was great, and the sand was pristine.”

The dunes already were disappearing, but the recent disaster is hastening further loss, Simmons says. “Since the explosion the surf alternates between blue to crude brown. The sand is being cleaned daily, but the stain remains and is sinking deeper each day.”

The disaster also will lengthen the emotional toll suffered by the people who still have been recovering from recent natural catastrophes. “We have seen (hurricanes) Frederic, Ivan, and Katrina come and go, but the potential of this man-made disaster has the potential of being far more devastating than all those.”

Simmons adds, “There are still buildings being rebuilt since Ivan over six years ago. Just when it seemed relief was on the horizon, disaster strikes again. People in this area did not need more to worry about.”

The financial devastation will sink deep into the economy, Simmons fears. He notes that people in Covenant churches in the Alabama communities of Foley, Silverhill and Summerdale will be affected, directly or indirectly.

Simmons is a bi-vocational pastor who also manages several rental houses on the beach. “We have seen rental losses in six figures in the properties owned by those for whom we work,” he says.

Although the hurricanes could not be prevented, the environmental, emotional, and economic suffering inflicted by the Deepwater Horizon explosion was avoidable. “I believe Bill Nye the ‘science guy,’ said it best when he said the real cause was the dead batteries and thereby the loss of hydraulic pressure in the blowout preventer. Imagine that, all this because of dead batteries, which could have been replaced or recharged.”

Simmons is grateful for the prayers of others and asks that Covenanters continue to remember the people who yet again must recover from another disaster.

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