Stories and images from the wildfires in Northern Alberta and the devastation of Fort McMurray have filled the news and online sources. Estimates are that over 80,000 people have been evacuated from the area and many have lost their homes. Many of us likely know people, either directly or indirectly, who have been affected by these events.
Our family of churches has two churches in Fort McMurray, Fort City Church and the Native Fellowship Church. To the best of our knowledge all the church leaders and members have been safely evacuated. The Fort City Church, under the leadership of Rev. Doug Doyle has established an office at Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton and is seeking to assist those from Fort McMurray who are in need. The immediate needs of all affected is great and will continue to be for some time come as rebuilding begins
To assist our sister churches and the people of Fort McMurray who are in need, the Living Hope Board of Elders has decided to immediately send $2000 from our Compassion Fund to help those in need. The funds will be sent to the Western District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada who have established a fund to assist the Fort McMurray churches in continuing to minister and meet the needs of those in need.
Rev. Brent Trask, District Superintendent of the Western District, writes the following about the creation of the “Canadian Ministries – Fort McMurray” fund:
“Funds donated to the crisis through the C&MA will go in their entirety to addressing the immediate and long terms needs of the Fort McMurray community. In the short term, funds will be used to keep both of our church ministries viable so that they can serve as ongoing platforms for practical and spiritual support when residents of Fort McMurray return. While the government is matching donations made through the Red Cross, the practicality of making a donation through the Alliance allows us immediate access to the funds donated, giving our pastoral teams on the ground in Fort McMurray the ability to respond immediately and with spiritual sensitivity to the needs around them.
The Alliance will also be partnering with other organizations such as Samaritans Purse and the Salvation Army in a cooperative effort to support and not duplicate services being provided. We will also be working with our National Ministry Centre to focus and target prioritized needs in the coming days.”
The Board of Elders has also decided that any donations received to the Compassion Fund on Sunday May 8, 2016 will be sent along with the $2000 to the Western District’s Canadian Ministries – Fort McMurray fund. If you would like to help the people and churches of Fort McMurray please come prepared to give to the Compassion Fund on May 8th, or you can send your gift directly to the Western District Office in Calgary.
In addition to financial support the leadership of Living Hope is calling all who call Living Hope home to set aside 3 to 4 pm on Sunday May 8th (either in whole or in part) as a time of prayer for the people of Fort McMurray. The Fort City Church will be meeting for their worship service at that time (3-4 pm) and by stopping to pray at that time we can join with them in worshiping our heavenly Father and interceding for them with prayer. The prayer room at the church will be open to those who wish to gather corporately and pray.
Please continue to pray for the people of Fort McMurray as well as the civic, provincial and national leaders involved in leading the community forward.