Covenant Relief Response: ‘Amazing, Daunting, Sacrificial’

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (May 28, 2013) – The Hindustani Covenant Church (HCC) has sent $2,000 to Covenant World Relief for tornado relief, while at the same time coping with their own natural disaster in India.

“This church has been dealing with the most severe drought in over 40 years, yet they gave sacrificially to help people they do not personally know half-way around the world,” said Garth Bolinder, superintendent of the Midsouth Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC).

Click here to view a video on the HCC response to the drought.

In an email update, Bolinder said, “This poor sister Covenant church is modeling Paul’s encouragement in 2 Corinthians 8: ‘In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.’ ”

The HCC donated $3,000 last year to New York City relief and reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Sandy.

Bolinder said six of the 24 fatalities from last week’s tornado had connections with Covenant congregations. Four children who died were connected with LifeChurch.tv, and two adults attended Westmoore Community Covenant Church.

Others suffered injuries. “At last count, around 100 homes of Covenant folks were totally destroyed by the storm,” Bolinder said. “Several hundred more homes of Covenant folks were damaged.”

The EF-5-rated tornado stayed on the ground for 17 miles from New Castle to Moore, which sustained the heaviest damage. At one point, winds reached up to 200 mph.

All Midsouth Covenant churches in the area are giving significant leadership to the relief effort, said Bolinder, who was in Oklahoma City on Wednesday and Thursday.

Westmoore Covenant Church has opened their facility for use by City Impact and World Vision to be a hub for volunteers, feeding people and dispensing supplies. Hillcrest Covenant Church in Kansas City, Kansas, has dispatched a shower trailer paid for by CWR funds for the volunteers to use at the Westmoore church. The trailer was used following Hurricane Katrina and the twister that hammered Joplin, Missouri, in 2011.

Journey Church has opened its facility to serve as a gathering place for supplies coming in from all over the southern United States, as well as a deploying point for volunteers. “The sheer volume of supplies and volunteers is amazing and daunting,” Bolinder said.

LifeChurch.tv is using its south Oklahoma City campus as a collection station for supplies and a deploying point for volunteers.

Summit Covenant Church is collecting supplies and sending people. “Because the need is so great, Summit has released Pastor Jay Stokes to be sort of a ‘rover’ to give leadership where needed to all our Oklahoma Covenant churches in their relief work,” Bolinder said.

Bolinder attended a candlelight prayer service at Westmoore, where several hundred people gathered. Many of the first-responders as well as several Moore school teachers who helped protect their children during the tornado were among the attendees.

“As debris is cleared and as plans develop, we will be posting opportunities for Midsouth and ECC churches who want to send mission teams to Oklahoma,” Bolinder added.

Covenanters can continue to give financial assistance through Covenant World Relief to help Oklahoma City Covenant congregations in their work. Click here to make an online donation.

Covenant President Gary Walter will speak at Westmoore in several weeks.

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