Central Texans Asked to Respond with Prayer, Patience & Hope
1 p.m. April 18 - Bishop Mike Lowry, episcopal leader for the Central Texas Conference (CTC), is calling on the faithful of the CTC to respond to the tragic events surrounding the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas with prayer, patience and hope.
In his most recent t, Bishop Lowry recognized that collectively, this has been “a hard week” – a week that has seen a tragic terrorist bombing in Boston and now the massive explosion in West [and there are reports of tornadoes and flooding in other parts of the country]. “While Boston may be distant,” writes Bishop Lowry, “we still reach out instinctively with our prayer and our care. The town of West is in the heart of our Conference. This tragedy is close to home and touches our lives much more intimately. Here too we reach out with the love and care of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“First, foremost and always, let us be a people who place our lives and the lives of our loved ones before God in trusting prayer,” stated Bishop Lowry. “Remember the promise of God: ‘Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.’” (Philippians 4:6-7 CEB)
Patience is also key in responding well to the early stages of a catastrophe like this. After having discussions with conference members and leaders on the scene and reviewing the requests of officials in West, Bishop Lowry strongly reinforced the message of area officials that, besides prayer, the best way anyone can immediately assist in the recovery efforts is to exercise patience and stay away from the area. The community of West has all the emergency responders it can use at the moment. Officials continue to assess the needs and once those needs are identified, they will be communicated and appropriate responses will be activated at that time.
“We give thanks for first responders and other early responders who are immediately engaged. This is a time to commit in faith for the long haul. After the cameras have been turned off and the news reports stilled, we will remain in service and love to the community of West. In the ensuing days, weeks and months, needs will emerge that call for our action.”
And finally Bishop Lowry stressed the need to keep hope in our hearts. “In the upcoming days we will have an opportunity to live out our faith-based hope through generosity of spirit, time and resources including financial resources.”
Bishop Lowry also announced that he is calling on all the churches of the CTC to receive a special disaster relief offering for the community of West as they are able. Offerings should be made to Central Texas Conference Disaster Response, with The City of West noted on the donation. Other ways to offer support are through UMCOR and The Red Cross. As the full scope of the need unfolds, the Central Texas Conference will response with further specific calls for help as needed.