On the night of Friday, Dec. 10th and early morning of December 11th, tornadoes caused catastrophic destruction of lives and property. Up to fifty tornadoes struck eight states, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee. A group of those tornadoes were on the ground for 250-plus miles, cutting swaths of devastation in their paths through eastern Arkansas and western Kentucky. Multiple lives were lost (perhaps as many as 100) as the storms hit while people went about their daily lives – at home, at a nursing home, in college dormitories, working in a candle factory in Mayfield, KY or at a warehouse in Edwardsville, IL. Precious lives were lost. Homes, businesses and places of worship were flattened. Possessions were turned into debris.
The scope of the loss creates overwhelming grief. Kentucky Governor Beshear reflects, “We’re going to have to grieve together before we can rebuild together.” The uncertainty caused by such catastrophic weather events shakes our foundations. Survivors report, “Everything happened so fast.” The randomness of the destruction leaves us without direction. “The whole town is gone.”
The day after the storms, Mayfield, KY mayor, Kathy Stewart O’Nan, was asked by news reporters what people could do to help. Her reply, “We are a praying people. Join us in prayer.”
The people of Eden Theological Seminary join the prayers of those impacted by these natural disasters. We pray for those in search and rescue and immediate response. We pray as response will indeed turn into recovery. We pray with action in the long-term. As we take in the particular dimensions of these tragic storms, we pray for God to stir our hearts to greater compassion to serve those who are suffering. May we be moved to deeper attention and advocacy to protect workers with safe conditions and our planet from the ravages of climate change.
Churches with which Eden is connected are acting and will be involved for the long-term. For those able to contribute financially, you can be part of response and long-term recovery by donating through disaster response ministries, including: UCC Disaster Ministries Severe Storms Appeal https://www.ucc.org/appeal-severe-storms-2021/
Or Disciples Week of Compassion https://www.weekofcompassion.org/stories/after-the-storm-an-update-and-a-prayer-following-tornado-outbreak
We join you in prayer; for God is among you. This is the real Emmanuel.