Saturday, September 10, 2005

September 10 Updates

Here is the latest UPDATE from Rev. Mike Hollenbach coordinator of Philadelphia PCA MercyNet--
“We have been in contact with pastor Bruce O'Neil of Eastern Shore PCA in Fairhope, AL and are
proposing to send a team(s) of workers either September 24 through October 9 or October 22
through November 6. Eastern Shore PCA church has become one of the main distribution points for
east coast churches functioning as a staging area as disaster relief moves west. They are about 45
minutes from Biloxi, MS. Others from the PCA are working south toward Biloxi from Hattiesburg,
MS. They have already cleaned up and partly rebuilt First Pres, Biloxi, which is starting to serve as a
staging area for distribution of food, clothing, etc. Biloxi has hundreds/ thousands of homes that have
been destroyed. The Eastern Shore church is housing some displaced people, and they can provide or
find housing for volunteers who come down. There is plenty of work to be done, cutting up fallen
trees, cleaning up debris, distributing goods, etc. He said they could use anything we would send...
goods and manpower.

For more information or if you are interested in being a part of the Service Teams. please email or call Mike Hollenbach ( or 215.658.1100).

UPDATE FROM REV. MO LEVERETT of DESIRE STREET MINISTRIES (Speaker at our 2006 Urban Missions Conference): Many of you have expressed concern for my family. We are doing well, though we are having difficulty finding the time to process what has just occurred in our lives, our family and our ministry. My family has lost everything. My kids only have the clothes on their backs. And my wife lost precious irreplaceable items like pictures, journals, letters to our children and the earrings I’ve given her on anniversaries. We don’t currently have a family vehicle. We’re struggling as we’re trying to help others in their struggles, but the Lord is graciously sustaining us. We are blessed and deeply moved by the concern and support of so many of you who have offered prayers, financial support, housing and other resources. While we have much work left to do, God is blessing us with progress as we pursue our mission through these new challenges. We have added a great deal of new information to our website since last Friday. Please visit for all the updates, including a message from me and from Danny Wuerffel. You’ll also find updated prayer requests, ways to help and an outline of our ministry objectives and funding priorities as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The days have been long, but God continues to provide for and sustain us through your prayers and generous gifts. We are committed to doing all we can to provide relief and education as we plan for redevelopment in the months to come. Your gifts of support allow us to press forward. Please send checks to: Desire Street Ministries Fund, Whitney National, Northwest Branch, Mail Teller Attn: Loveda Lockey, 1716 Mangum Road, Houston, TX 77092.

FROM PCA DISASTER RESPONSE TEAM:Now that we have a location to serve as a receiving and distribution warehouse; we are beginning to receive shipments loaded with much needed supplies — ranging from non-perishable food and water to soap and medical supplies — to help the many people who are without these basic needs.

The arrival of the supplies allowed a Hattiesburg hospital with 3400 people to receive the basic provisions and medical supplies greatly desired – to provide people with nourishment and medical care. We praise God for those of you who sent the supplies!

We have also been able to send the supplies into the surrounding communities that are lacking fresh water, food and medicine. This has been done through cooperative efforts with churches located throughout the area and neighboring states. Please view our video on the MNA home page, which shares some of the testimonies of those affected by the hurricane.

Below you will find a list of wanted items. Although we appreciate your willingness to share with those affected by the hurricane, please refrain from sending any items not on the list below.

· Hand Sanitizer
· Bug spray
· Food -- nonperishable; non heated
· Manual can openers
· Diapers -- all sizes
· Pull-ups
· Baby formula
· Baby wipes
· Paper products (plates, napkins, plastic ware, cups)
· Feminine products
· Toothpaste
· Toothbrushes

When you have gathered your donated supplies, please call Disaster Response at 636-299-1422 or 636-299-1424 for directions on where to ship your supplies. Because areas of need change daily, this will allow us to make sure that supplies get quickly to the area of most need (Posted by David Apple).

Friday, September 09, 2005

Guidelines for Tenth Members

(Note: Here is the text of the bulletin insert for this Sunday. I should note that it is put together as a guide for immediate individual response. We wanted to give individuals guidelines who feel compelled to act quickly. We will be planning how Tenth can help as a congregation and what will be effective long term. Thus, we are exploring how to designate the Thanksgiving offering, for example; sending one or more mission teams either soon or over the coming year; is there a specific church, ministry, or project for our church to focus on. David Apple will head up the planning of these efforts. Thanks to Jonathan Olsen for getting the ball rolling and putting together this information.)

Many have asked how to help following Hurricane Katrina. Tenth encourages members to help through the relief the Presbyterian Church in America has in place. Visit Marion Clark’s blogsite for daily updates and more specific details:

Give Help:
MNA Hurricane Relief Website
Mission to North America has a new Hurricane Relief, Recovery and Resettlement website up and running. Go to to indicate availability to help with hurricane relief and recovery. You can also register there if you have housing available for hurricane evacuees
(click on “Offer Help”).

MTW Minuteman Appeal for Hurricane Katrina Relief
Because of the magnitude of the disaster on the Gulf Coast, Mission to the World is joining with Mission to North America in order to assist them in the overwhelming task ahead. MTW has issued a Minuteman appeal for funds, and both organizations are recruiting short-term teams. To read the appeal and contribute to this appeal, go to and look for “minuteman appeal” link.

Meeting Immediate Needs in Louisiana
Acadiana Presbyterian Church is presently working with other churches in town to provide relief for refugees from Katrina. If you want to help with material goods (pillows, towels, sheets, books, bottled water, non-perishable foods, clothes, diapers, toiletries), you must contact Acadiana Presbyterian Church ( or 337.781.6414) and send items directly to them. If you want to make a monetary contribution, make checks payable to “Acadiana Presbyterian Church” with the memo “Katrina.” Address: Acadiana Presbyterian Church, 1515 W. University Ave., Lafayette, LA 70506.

Meeting Needs in Philadelphia
If you want to help with people who come to Philadelphia, register as a volunteer at The Tenth staff is thinking and praying through the best ways to serve those who come to Philadelphia.

· For those who are still trapped in buildings or have yet to receive the
· sufficient help they need.
· For those who have lost family or friends and for those who still are missing someone close to them; that we grieve with those who grieve.
· For all of the workers in the South: firemen, rescue workers, police, and volunteers.
· For our sister churches in the South; pray that the light of Christ will shine through His people in this very dark season for so many.
· For Tenth’s possibility to send one or more teams to affected areas and work with PCA-coordinated efforts in the coming months.
· That we will be involved compassionately with those who are hurting at this time
· That we humbly recognize the limits of human competence; that we
· recognize our dependence on God and cannot put our confidence in modern telecommunications, in our insurance coverage, and in the ability of our government to do something about a disaster.
· That God’s people would trust and praise God for his power, goodness, and sovereignty, even though we cannot understand God’s purpose.
· That we use this as a time not to question God, but to question ourselves; that we would use this as an occasion for our own repentance—
· see Luke 13:1–5.


I will be away on vacation next week, though I may still do some blogging. Paul Duggan (and maybe Joel Garver) will carry on the Proverbs devotions. You may also see some postings from David Apple regarding the hurricane relief efforts. So keep in touch.

Relief Effort Director

David Apple, our Director of Mercy Ministries, will now be directing Tenth's relief efforts for the hurricane victims. Any input or questions you may have, should now be directed to him at I and Jonathan are very pleased he has agreed to take the reigns as in his role he has already established the relational networks to help in our denomination and will give wise guidance in the coming weeks and months.

Day of Prayer Service

In response to President Bush's proclamation of a Day of Prayer and Remembrance on September 16, Tenth Church will observe a prayer service that Friday from 12:00-1:00 in the sanctuary. Please feel free to invite friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

Day of Prayer and Remembrance Proclamation


Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in our Nation's history and has caused unimaginable devastation and heartbreak throughout the Gulf Coast Region. A vast coastline of towns and communities has been decimated. Many lives have been lost, and hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans are suffering great hardship. To honor the memory of those who lost their lives, to provide comfort and strength to the families of the victims, and to help ease the burden of the survivors, I call upon all Americans to pray to Almighty God and to perform acts of service.

As we observe a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina, we pledge our support for those who have been injured and for the communities that are struggling to rebuild. We offer thanks to God for the goodness and generosity of so many Americans who have come together to provide relief and bring hope to fellow citizens in need. Our Nation is united in compassion for the victims and in resolve to overcome the tremendous loss that has come to America. We will strive together in this effort, and we will prevail through perseverance and prayer.

Americans are reaching out to those who suffer by opening their hearts, homes, and communities. Their actions demonstrate the greatest compassion one person may show to another: to love your neighbor as yourself. Across our Nation, so many selfless deeds reflect the promise of the Scripture: "For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in." I encourage all Americans to respond with acts of kindness in the days ahead. By contributing time, money, or needed goods to a relief organization and by praying for the survivors and those in recovery efforts, we can make a tremendous difference in the lives of those in need.

Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath resulted in a considerable loss of life. We pray that God will bless the souls of the lost, and that He will comfort their families and friends and all lives touched by this disaster. As the American people unite to help those who are hurting, we share a determination to stand by those affected by Hurricane Katrina in the months and years ahead as they rebuild their lives and reclaim their future. We are determined that the Gulf Coast region will rise again. The tasks before us are enormous, and so is the heart of America. We will continue to comfort and care for the survivors. We will once again show the world that the worst adversities bring out the best in the American people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 16, 2005, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with memorial services and other appropriate observances. I also encourage all Americans to remember those who have suffered in the disaster by offering prayers and giving their hearts and homes for those who now, more than ever, need our compassion and our support.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.GEORGE W. BUSH

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Response Summit Meeting

Mission to North America in conjunction with the Mississippi Valley Presbytery hosted a meeting Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005 at the Brandon Presbyterian Church to gather disaster response leaders to begin strategizing and formulating plans for the PCA and northern Mississippi relief efforts. Fred Marsh along with Ron Haynes (PCA Disaster Relief Director) presented a status report of existing conditions and information and stated that we need to think of this not as a short term problem but as something we will need to be involved in for a long term. It is a huge task to mobilize the people of the PCA to assist in the aftermath of such destruction.

One of the most significant issues before us at the present time is locating our congregations, pastors and members to assess the situation and figure out how we can meet their needs. As far as structuring our denominational response, Ron and Judy Haynes are actively working to establish satellite sites as home bases for future operations. The most likely staging areas would include Jackson (initially), Hattiesburg, Picayune, and Biloxi or Mobile.

There are hopes to form a triangle within the affected hurricane regions, that the surrounding presbyteries will come together to support the sites closest to them (communication, staffing, logistics, meals, teams, etc.) as they are able. As soon as these satellite hubs can be selected and set up, then volunteers will be able to come and serve. Volunteers need to understand that the hardship level for volunteers is going to be high since areas are without power, water, etc. A list of things volunteers will need and a list of supplies will be posted on the MNA Disaster Response website soon.

Connectionalism, integration, combined efforts and resources will be key to our having the greatest impact. This task is going to demand lay leadership involvement on a variety of levels. It was stated that one possible solution to the evacuees would be for closer presbyteries to serve as communication/shuttle hub for helping evacuees find refuge in shelters set up by other presbyteries or churches to draw more on denomination wide resources. Several churches have already offered to help in this area.

Mississippi Valley Presbytery expressed its intentions to be a supporter of denominational efforts, to consider hosting a summit of leaders of our denomination, to work with other Presbyteries, to be a primary supporter of the Hattiesburg satellite site, to forming a special leadership group to suggest more specific plans at a called meeting of presbytery in upcoming weeks, to communicate the need for financial support on various levels, and to ask churches to begin collecting items needed for future efforts.

From Covenant College

Covenant College ( in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, will make admission available for up to 15 students who were enrolled in a college or university that has suspended operations due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. Covenant will waive all tuition, fees, and room and board costs for these students for the fall 2005 semester. The College is intent on assisting displaced students in a timely and efficient manner, so that they may begin or resume their college education with as little disruption as possible. Students may contact Mrs. Jan Weaver, assistant director of admissions, at 706-419-1437, to initiate an expedited admissions process. Covenant has also offered guest housing to families who have been displaced from their homes as a result of hurricane Katrina.

A Report from A Relief Worker

Over Labor Day, 14 men from Trinity and Eastwood Presbyterian Churches in Montgomery, Ala., went to Biloxi and Gulfport, two cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. John Acken, an attorney and former (always) Marine and member of Trinity, wrote the following analysis.

Like millions across the country, I watched in horror as Americans sat cut off waiting for help without food, water and medical aid. I could not believe that less than a four-hour drive from Montgomery, Americans lives were in jeopardy because they did not have access to basic necessities. I learned that Trinity Presbyterian Church and Eastwood Presbyterian Church had partnered to send volunteers to Biloxi. At 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, fourteen of us headed south in five trucks stuffed with bottled water, basic provisions, chainsaws and enough gasoline to get us there and back.

From Desire Street Ministries

Message from Mo Leverett - Executive Director (posted Sept 6, '05) We are blessed and deeply moved by the concern and support of so many people, many whom I’ve not even met. Thank you for your prayers. They are deeply encouraging. I am certain it’s the prayers of so many that are sustaining me and our staff during this difficult time. As devastating as the storm has been, we believe that God has a redemptive purpose for it. And we desire to be with him in that purpose.

As a ministry, we’ve been scattered to the winds, but we’re working very hard to accomplish a number of goals. We’ve been working to locate and help those in need, making sure they have food and shelter. We’re also working to reestablish our ministry office so that our team is well equipped to strategically respond to urgent needs. And we’re working to reopen Desire Street Academy in a different location as we also position ourselves for continued relief and development.

We are thankful that New Orleans has returned to some degree of civility and that most everyone has been evacuated. We are continually assessing the situation on the ground and are prayerful for the city we love. We hope to have a place to return to. We are deeply concerned for the lives of our students and for those who still remain unaccounted for.
Many of you have expressed concern for my family. We are doing well, though we are having difficulty finding the time to process what has just occurred in our lives, our family and our ministry. My family has lost everything. My kids only have the clothes on their backs. And my wife lost precious irreplaceable items like pictures, journals, letters to our children and the earrings I’ve given her on anniversaries. We don’t currently have a family vehicle. We’re struggling as we’re trying to help others in their struggles, but the Lord is graciously sustaining us.

I must say that the staff of Desire Street Ministries is working heroically and tirelessly during this time. They are doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Please keep them in your prayers and encourage them as you are able. Also, please keep Desire Street Ministries in mind with special gifts and offerings. There’s a lot of need. And there’s a lot of loss. But we also have a lot of vision and passion for the work God has called us to. We feel strongly that our job is not yet complete. We are still in love with our city and in love with our community. God has called us to minister among the people of Desire. Please continue to pray for and invest in Desire Street Ministries. Thank you for standing with us during this time. It means more than you know.

From Leakesville, MS

From TEJoe Rolison (, pastor of The Presbyterian Church, Leakesville, Miss.
We are grateful to report the Leakesville Presbyterian Church sustained only minor damage from Hurricane Katrina; the most-devastating effect of the storm among our members was that one of our families lost their home. Thankfully, they can stay down the street at their parents' home until they rebuild. The Lord has brought a wonderful blessing in the wake of such horror: A church from Ludlow Falls, Ohio, found us on the Internet, made arrangements via telephone to come down to Leakesville and unloaded four vans' worth of vital supplies in our previously-neglected little town. Praise be to God for His infinite grace!

From Metairie, LA

From TE Dick Davies (, pastor of Grace PCA in Metairie, La.
We are writing from Spring, Texas, having arrived here on Tuesday, Sept. 7, to spend a few days with our daughter and her family. We were able to see the church in Metairie on Sunday and it is dry! No damage to the sanctuary at all. Just a few shingles missing. That's all! The Fellowship Hall does have some water, probably rain that blew under the doors, but nothing major. The house next door that the church recently purchased lost the carport cover but was dry as well! We were able to get to our house too and it was dry and absolutely undamaged. We'll just have to cut down a couple of trees, but nothing hurt our house! We are so grateful to the Lord for His grace!

We will be staying here in Spring until Saturday, when we will return to the home of one of our elders in Montz, La. (101 Scarlett Lane, Montz,LA 70068, 985-651-2901 or cell# 504-812-5709), staying there until we can return to our home. From what we could see of Kenner and Metairie, we think the recovery will be fairly speedy—compared to New Orleans. Please give thanks with us to the Lord for His mercy and grace to our church and to our family. This frees us all the more to help those that we know have flooded and had damage and will suffer hardship.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Report from MNA

This is the latest update from MNA:

The web page was up just a few days before we were so overwhelmed with offers of housing that we stopped taking new registrations. Please see further details under Housing below. Thank you for your great outpouring of concern and your offers to address the needs of people all across the area impacted by Hurricane Katrina. May we be a people of prayer especially during these challenging times. Jim Bland, MNA Coordinator

Housing for Evacuees:
Offers of housing were so overwhelming that we are not accepting further registrations at this time. You may still register if you need housing. The deacons of Woodruff Road Presbyterian in Simpsonville, SC, have volunteered to coordinate the responses, matching those in need with homes offered. Many of those who are seeking housing have very complex needs.

For all information on MNA coordination of PCA Disaster Response, go to: Please review the web site frequently. We are posting updates at least daily. Please help spread the word.

Call for volunteers for clean-up and other services:
MNA Disaster Response is coordinating the Hurricane Katrina response effort for the PCA working out of a command post in Brandon, Mississippi. We need you, and we will need many more volunteers in the weeks and months ahead. If you have registered, we will be calling on you in the near future. Below is a list of our staging areas that either have been or are in the process of being set up and the areas that are being served.

Staging Area & Areas Being Served
· Brandon, MS: serving as Command Center
· Picayune, MS: Picayune, MS & Slidell, LA
· Mobile, AL: Biloxi & Gulfport
· Hattiesburg, MS: Hattiesburg & Laurel
· Prentiss, MS: Prentiss, Hopewell, Mt. Olive, MS

In addition, Faith PCA in Brookhaven, Mississippi is operating as a shelter for refugees. Pear Orchard PCA in Jackson, Mississippi has adopted a sister church, Columbia PCA, in Columbia, Mississippi and will be taking care of that area.

· Presbyteries who are close by: volunteers from your churches will be able to get in most readily, if your own communities can spare their labor there.
· Volunteers are welcome from any and all of our churches and presbyteries.

Two ways to let us know you want to volunteer:

· You may register as an individual on the web site. We will then add you to a team. PCA Relief
· If you are putting a team together, you may register your team on the web site. PCA Relief

It will greatly help our management of telephone calls if you are willing to register and then let us call you back. If you must begin with a phone call, you may reach MNA Disaster Response at 636-299-1422 or 636-299-1424.

We will have information on which site needs the volunteers and what the conditions are and what you will need to bring. Thanks to the generous time commitments of volunteers in the Jackson area especially, we are set up now to handle the volume of calls we are getting, but please understand that we will usually need to call you back, rather than talk through the details right when you call. If you already called or registered on the web site, we will be calling you. Communities are opening up gradually and we are still dealing with gasoline problems and other logistical limitations, so please be patient as we work with you to determine the best time to come in.

Thank you for all you are doing. The PCA is making a difference, and I pray we are salt and light to the hurting communities. Ron Haynes, Disaster Response Director

Library Reading News

Congratulations to the winners of the Tenth Library Summer Reading Contest: Youth division--Madeleine Wattenbarger, first; Rebecca Hormann, second; Beverly Jeanette Linton, runner-up; Teen division--Noemi Hormann, first; Noah Cohen, second; Allison Wattenbarger, runner-up. All participants will be recognized at Rally Day and the Junior High Sunday School Class.

Tenth's Response

By tomorrow we will post Tenth's response to hurricane relief. Know now that we will be recommending funds to be sent to MNA; opportunity will be given to donate articles.

Latest PCA News

Short Video of Hurricane Damage in Gulfport
Watch a short video on Hurricane Katrina's damage in Gulfport, Miss. (it even shows the alligator shot in First Presbyterian's fellowship hall). Go to

Hurricane Katrina Updates

From TE Andy Silman (, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Hattiesburg was hard hit by Katrina. Majestic pines and oaks were felled. Ninety percent of the homes near the University of Southern Mississippi received some damage. A good number of houses are virtually beyond repair. Thankfully, we have had no flooding as has the Mississippi Gulf Coast. As of September 7 many in the area remain without power. Clearing of yards continues. For the most part spirits are high. No lives lost and no one injured as a result of the storm (as far as I now know).

Church structures are sound with minimal damage. The MNA Disaster Relief Team arrives at First Presbyterian Church sometime today [9/7] and volunteers will descend upon us by the end of the week. Offers of help have come from all over the PCA family. Many thanks. Please contact First Presbyterian Church (601-268-0303) to inquire as to how best to help in the days to come.

Thanks for your prayers and help and financial contributions. You may send donations designated for hurricane relief to First Presbyterian Church, 4901 Hardy Street, Hattiesburg, MS 39402;.or through Mission to North America, 1700 N. Brown Rd., # 101, Lawrenceville, GA 30043; or by credit card at

From Heidelberg, Miss.
Heidelberg PCA in Heidelberg, Miss. (just north of Laurel), like Ellisville and Laurel, was very near the eye wall of the hurricane as it tracked north from the coast. Winds were 50-80 mph. This area of south Mississippi is known as "the pine belt". Many of the pines are now kindling wood; one person said it looked like a child dumped out a can of pick-up sticks. The church is a registered Red Cross shelter and was open during two previous storms. This time, however, the demand exceeded capacity and the shelter was moved to the Jasper County Multipurpose Building in Heidelberg. Just about every structure had some damage, but only one home completely destroyed possibly by an embedded tornado. No loss of life or serious injuries, thank the Lord! The session conducted a community prayer service last Sunday [9/4/05] from 10:30 - 12:00.

An Educational Option for Families Displaced by the Hurricane
The Veritas School in Jackson, Miss., is offering an opportunity for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina to enroll their Junior/Senior High School children in the school. Since many schools on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in parts of Louisiana will be closed for some time and since families will be seeking to make temporary or permanent moves into the Jackson area, the Veritas School would like to open our hearts and doors to those seeking a Christ centered education for their children grades 7-12.

The Veritas School is a training ground in the Jackson community for a generation of young people that is equipping them with the tools for a lifetime of learning. We are committed to serving our parents by teaching students to seek God's truth in all disciplines through the utilization of historically proven classical methods of instruction. If you are interested in enrolling your children or know someone for whom the Veritas School would provide a temporary place for their children, contact headmaster Dan Guthery at 601-713-1555.

New MNA Hurricane Relief Web Site
Mission to North America has a new Hurricane Relief, Recovery and Resettlement web site up and running. Go to to indicate availability to help with hurricane relief and recovery. You can also register here if you have housing available for hurricane evacuees (click on "Offer Help"), or if you are in need of temporary housing (click on "Request Help").

To reach the housing office, you can e-mail:, or call 864-517-9058. This clearinghouse will handle requests from around the PCA and coordinate houses with people in need.

A Hymn in Response to Hurricane Katrina's Impact
Here is a hymn offered in response to Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing disasters in the Gulf Coast states, August 29, 2005. Written by Stephen D. Lawton, Director of Music and Worship at Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C. (PCA).

God of Nature, at Whose Voice

God of nature, at whose voice the waves and winds must now obey,
Give your people words of comfort, acts of grace to share today.
Yours the pow’r of devastation, yours to gather, help and heal;
We know not your ways of wisdom; let your light our paths reveal.

Shelter Lord, the homeless, helpless, young and old with pity see,
Give their daily food, supply their needs with perfect equity.
Grant protection, strength and patience to their rescuers, we pray;
Fill with hope the laboring workers, grace to serve both night and day.

Bring your people ever closer, sharing pain of grief and loss,
Motivate us, loving Savior, with the love shown by your cross.
We, your Body, long to serve you, serving others in your name,
And when sorrow washes o’er us, Gracious Spirit, heal the pain.

Call our nation to repentance; gather us that we may see
You’re the God of love and mercy; rescue us and set us free.
Let our deeds announce redemption, saving grace for all our days.
Let your song go forth to cheer us, lifting heart and hands to praise. Amen.

Beach Spring, 87.87.D (Come All Christians Be Committed)

© 2005 Stephen D Lawton, all rights reserved
Permission is hereby granted for credited use, unaltered, only in public worship.

Do Not Call

To get on the national register to prevent telemarketers from calling your home and cell phone numbers, go to I am told that in 18 days, telemarketers may be calling our cell phones.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Saturday Events

Presbytery is being held at Tenth Church this Saturday. It typically runs from 8:30 to about 4:00, give or take an hour. We will take time to break into the three future presbytery clusters and continue planning for our new presbytery that begins in January. We may hear the music floating down from Fellowship Hall as the choir starts its year off with an all-day practice. Parish 3 is holding a Putt-Putt outing that day, and the Diaconate is having its own picnic late in the day.

Staff Reviews

Today I began conducting formal reviews of the pastoral staff. I meet with each person for about an hour and use a form to guide the discussion. Some of the topics are: Significant Strengths, Significant Accomplishments, Areas Needing Development and Improvement, Specific Development Goals. Please pray for these meetings. Pat Canavan does the same with support staff. These usually end up being good sessions allowing for both employee and supervisor to get an understanding where things stand and how to set course for the coming year.

Another Baby

This notice came in from John and Melinda Bombaro, former members who are now in England. Our second daughter, Margaret Marie (we're calling her Marie) was born Friday, August 12th at 1:53pm weighing 8.7.

Teacher Commissionings

This Sunday we will be commissioning our Bible school teachers in both morning services. This includes those involved with Maranatha, Schola, TCU, and other Tenth ministry teaching posts. If you come at the 9:00 service, I will call you to come up to the platform for the commissioning; at the 11:00 service, Phil will have you stand where you are. (So come to the 9:00 service and get special treatment from me!)

News to Come

Jonathan Olsen is preparing a hurricane response plan that will appear as a bulletin insert this Sunday. He has recruited Aaron Snethen to spearhead some of that response, most likely to include sending a team in the coming months. Before Sunday, that response plan will be posted on this blog. It will include recommended means to send donations, how to provide immediate help and what to look for the long term. Meanwhile, note earlier postings for how you may help now, if you want to move more quickly.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Day of Prayer Report

Our total for last Sunday's Day of Prayer sessions was 134, about three times the normal number. I am thankful for the larger number, but still consider that 173 people attended Bible school the previous Sunday. We need to pray that we will treat prayer as important as other church activities. We are still a long way from being regarded as a praying church.

More PCA News

From TE Richard Bailey (, assistant pastor of Plains Presbyterian Church in Zachary, Louisiana:

Our shelter is up and running very well. We can house about fifty folks. Some have come and caught their breath and moved on to family and friends. Others have been with us from the first day. We are working to get them registered with all of the different agencies. There is a LOT more to a shelter than a bed and a meal. The outpouring of support is so wonderful. We are still reeling from the disaster and are still in the life saving mode. We don't have answers to some of your questions and while some of your ideas are great, we may not be there yet. We are funneling most questions and support to the MNA Disaster ( Your support is going to be needed for many, many months. This is huge.

When I stood up to lead the worship service Sunday I looked out at our shelter "guests" and choked up. It was tough to go on. So much hurt and pain. Our Pastor, Woody Markert, preached from Lamentations 3. It was a powerful, yet comforting message. Filled with hope in the Lord. [Read Lamentations 1:1-2 and weep for New Orleans]. We then served Communion. I needed it. What encouragement and strength the Lord provided through this his Sacrament. Pray for us. We are tired.

From TE Caleb Cangelosi (, pastor of Columbia Presbyterian Church in Columbia, Miss.

Our situation here is exactly the same as in other areas of south Mississippi. Our church building was not hurt, but trees and power lines are down everywhere, and numerous homes have trees in them, including some of our members. I will return Sunday for morning service; the reports I have heard indicate that there is no food, no gas, scanty phone coverage, and little ice. Columbia has an artesian well that has been pumping out gallons of drinkable water per second – a huge blessing in the face of such devastation. I am sure that our community would appreciate any help that folks can give. You can contact me at the church (it never lost its phone) at 601-736-4728. Thanks so much for your prayers.

From TE Allen Smith (, pastor of Ellisville Presbyterian Church in Ellisville, Miss.

God has spared the members and building of Ellisville Presbyterian Church. This is amazing considering that a very tall oak tree fell towards the church stopping just inches from the sanctuary. It appears that the eye wall of Katrina came through Ellisville. The 1892 old structure withheld wind gusts up to 110 mph. The steeple and roof only received minor damage. Of the members, only a few had considerable damage to their homes. The Lord’s mercy in the midst of a monster storm!

From TE Rob Oates (, pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Brookhaven, Miss.

We are especially grateful for the prayers of God's people and also for any financial assistance that they can provide. Faith Presbyterian Church is a missions minded congregation and the Lord has brought a mission field right here to us in Brookhaven!! These are exhilarating and exhausting days. We are humbled that it has pleased the Lord to use us sinners saved by his grace in this remarkable way. Our expenses are mounting as the needs of people are incredible. If you to help with recovery or send a contribution: Faith Presbyterian Church, 400 Magee Drive, Brookhaven, MS, 39601. 601-833-0081. You may also contact TE Pat Davey, associate pastor at

From Moss Point, Miss.

We received a report that TE Randy Kimbrough (, pastor of Moss Point PCA in Moss Point , Miss., and his family are safe and in good shape after riding out the hurricane. The church building and manse, which are situated on high ground, sustained only minimal roof damage. At least five church families did lose their homes.

Urgent Prayer Request

Please note this urgent prayer request sent to me by Carroll:

David & Carol Stoltzfus from Elverson who are faithful PCRT attenders have an urgent prayer request: Their 11 year old son, Hunter, was in a four-wheeler accident on Sunday. Though he was sitting up and conscious when his brother went for help, he was found face down in water at the bottom of a ravine dead. His uncle was able to revive him, but he is still unconscious. He was med-evac to Danville and the next 72 hours are critical. Please pray for this young boy and his family. To learn more

Window on the World

Sunday's Window on the World was on the subject of how Christians (and particularly Tenth) should respond to a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina. You will find it at the church's website, or click hurricane.

Day of Prayer in the News

To see a news article that includes Sunday's Day of Prayer click here:

From First Presbyterian in Jackson, MS

Phil sent this to me:

From First PCA Jackson (Ligon Duncan). This is from their website, but there is also a link at reformation21.

Hurricane KatrinaAs we continue to follow the news from New Orleans, reports tell us of increasing flooding and loss of life continues to grow. Accordingly, we are realizing the need to respond at a level unlike any previous natural disasters in recent history in North America.Within the next few days, Mission to North America will gather a group of PCA key leaders from Louisiana and Mississippi to make plans for relief efforts. Mission to the World has also graciously offered to seek involvement from those who normally assist with disaster response overseas.We seek your active involvement:Prayer: For those whose family and friends have died in the storms. For those who are left without homes to return to. For all who will have to rebuild their lives and their homes and recover from their losses. For God?s leading to us, as we look for the best ways to serve and to testify of God?s mercy and grace in these difficult times.Volunteers: Ron and Judy Haynes will coordinate PCA volunteer efforts. Over time, all types of skills and time commitments will be welcome. Please register on the PCA MNA website, or send an email to, or call them at 636 299 1424.Financial Donations: we anticipate great financial needs, both for the expenses of relief operations and for direct assistance to PCA families. Please prayerfully consider making a generous financial contribution. Checks should be made to MNA, designated for Hurricane Relief. You may also donate by credit card on the MNA web site, or by sending your credit card donation information in writing to MNA.Donations of food, clothes, etc: for now, make these kinds of donations to other organizations who are making appeals for them in your area. If we later seek specific types of donations, we will let you know.

Is God Sovereign?

I copied and pasted this recent posting from Phil on reformation21. You can access the blogsite on the right column.

"Rick Phillips recently defended (see previous post) the sovereignty of God over Hurricane Katrina. But others are taking a different view. Just so you know what Rick is up against, consider the following from Tony Campolo, as quoted on (Alliance Council Member) Al Mohler's blogsite. Campolo says:

"Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad answers. One such answer is that somehow all suffering is a part of God's great plan. In the midst of agonies, someone is likely to quote from the Bible, telling us that if we would just be patient, we eventually would see 'all things work together for the good, for those who love God, and are called according to His purpose' (Romans 8:28).""I don't doubt that God can bring good out of tragedies, but the Bible is clear that God is not the author of evil! (James 1:15). Statements like that dishonor God, and are responsible for driving more people away from Christianity than all the arguments that atheistic philosophers could ever muster. When the floods swept into the Gulf Coast, God was the first one who wept."

"Perhaps we would do well to listen to the likes of Rabbi Harold Kushner, who contends that God is not really as powerful as we have claimed. Nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God is omnipotent. Kushner points out that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, but it is not in his Bible. Instead, the Hebrew Bible contends that God is mighty. That means that God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined."

(Phil's response:)
"Time will not permit me to point all of the difficulties here, but let me at least say the following:

1. Romans 8:28 is a wonderful Bible verse -- one of the most comforting in all of Scripture -- and I have long since tired of people (Christians!) criticizing it. Of course it can be used in a trivial or uncaring way, but its truth is fundamental for anyone who wants to understand the ways of God in the world and longs for real hope.

2. What drives people away from Christianity is not biblical truth, but its absence from the minds and hearts and actions of men.

3. Rather than saying that the omnipotence of God is taught nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures, it would be more accurate to say that it is taught everywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures. While the term "omnipotence" may not appear in the Bible, it is a necessary entailment of all that the Bible says about God.

4. Although it is commonly made, Campolo's argument for limited sovereignty does not really help him here. If God is a greater force in the universe than all the other forces combined, then he could easily have prevented Hurricane Katrina. Therefore, we still have to accept the fact that God has willed for this disaster to happen. For reasons that are not revealed to us but must further the purposes of his glory, he has permitted this great suffering. We may well struggle to understand his ways, but it will not help us to say that he is not really God.

My note: You cannot weigh in at the Reformation 21 site with comments, but you can here. Feel free to use the Comments section.

Philadelphia and Katrina is the city's site for Philadelphia relief efforts (although little is on there right now). Here is information that might be of interest to some of you from the site:

"Our local area Red Cross is a national call center for victims of the hurricane and is receiving hundreds of calls each day. The callers are devastated and asking for our help to guide them to shelters and other critical services.The call center needs experienced operators and data processors to staff the call center from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM seven days a week. The call center is at 23rd and Chestnut Streets. The Red Cross will provide parking, food and training. Call 215-299-0495."

According to this morning's Inquirer, 600 refugees are being flown in today. A vacant school (Wannamaker School) at 1701 N. 11th Street and the Palumbo building at 11th and Catharine are being turned into temporary housing.

Window on the World

We will get Phil's Window on the World's message about the Christian response to Hurricane Katrina posted as soon as possible. I will let you know when it is up.

Satellite Views

For satellite images of New Orleans click this site:

PCA Relief Efforts

Go to MNA's site for the most complete information about PCA relief efforts:

Monday, September 05, 2005

First Picture

This is my first effort at posting a picture. Here is a photo of the Clark siblings: John, Kathy, me, and Jean. Obviously, I am the youngest.