Dear Grace UMC and Church Partners,
We are blessed with a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing to a neighbor in need.
She is an elderly resident of Independence Heights who was displaced from her home as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully, she has been able to stay with her daughter during this challenging time. Yet, she longs to get back to her home. For that to happen, the interior will need to be gutted, mold remediated, and rebuilt. Without the resources to do so, she will someone to step up and help. That’s’ where we come in – “we” being the church. Who better to help than people who are called to love their neighbors?
How will we do it? Just like other churches have been doing it all over Houston. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, churches began working together to serve those needing help t recover. Eventually, these churches formed “disaster response coalitions,” and became part of a city-wide network called Houston Responds. While the Northwest Houston area (including the Heights) does not yet have a church coalition, there are several coalitions nearby, including Hope Disaster Recovery (HDR) in nearby Cy-Fair.
After hearing the story of our Independence Heights neighbor in need, HDR has decided extend beyond its normal geographical bounds to help. HDR has 75% of the funds need to fully repair the home, and will provide construction staff to manage the project.
What else is needed? Us! Like the other eight disaster response coalitions associated with Houston Responds, the purpose of HDR is to mobilize God’s people to do the work. Why? With volunteer laborers, we can often help people get back into their homes less expensively and more quickly. It also provides a unique opportunity to love our neighbors, work together as churches, and bear witness to the love of God in our community.
Pastor Colin Taylor of Grace Heights has invited his congregation to kick off the project on Saturday, March 23 and to see it to completion. Yet, to see our neighbor returned to her home will take more than volunteers just from Heights UMC. Our goal is to complete the project in three months, and we’ll need volunteers from as many churches as possible, as often as possible, to make it happen!
What does it take to participate? Just sign up and show up! If you have construction skills, that is a bonus. If not, we’ll be glad to teach you. Beyond the construction activities, there will be many other ways to serve, including caring for the volunteers (they’ll want lunch!) and for our homeowner friend through the process.
As the project proceeds, we’ll keep you updated on what’s coming up (cleanout, demolition, drywall, flooring, painting, etc.) so that you can match the interests and skills of your volunteers with the work. We’ll need a liaison from your church to be in communication with HDR and your volunteers. We’ll be looking for resources (about $8-10K) or materials donations to fill the repair gap. We’ll be watching for the Holy Spirit to be working through it all, as we love one another, love our neighbor back into her home, and bear witness to God’s love in our community.
If all goes well, maybe there will be a new disaster response coalition in Northwest Houston – and we’ll help someone else get back in their home.
But first things first.
For more information on how to help get our neighbor back into her home, feel free to contact Pastor Colin Taylor of Grace in the Heights or Jeff Schulz of Houston Responds. Once you have expressed an interest, we’ll provide you with all the information you’ll need, and we’ll sign you up!
Grace and peace to you,
Pastor Colin Taylor