All of us are still reeling from the news of this week’s tragic fire that destroyed historic buildings, caused the death of several pets, and left 29 people homeless in our beloved village.
Churches and community agencies have all been quick to respond to this disaster, but special praise goes to our friends and neighbors at the Boonville Methodist Church and the quick-minded leadership of their new minister, Rev. Robert Dean. Since the early hours of the fire, Rev. Dean made the church available as a command and resource center for survivors. Donations of clothes, supplies, and gift cards have been generously pouring in from the community.
Taking a much-needed rest after almost two days of working around the clock, Rev. Dean and his family attended our Good Friday service. Immediately after that service ended, my first words to him were, “What do you need from us?” His first word back to me was, “Manpower.”
The most pressing need at the moment is for able hands to sort out donated clothes for distribution. Families are continuing to come by the church daily for aid. Volunteers have been assisting as they are able. If any of you have time in the coming days and weeks, please lend a hand to the recovery effort at Boonville Methodist Church. The building opens most days at 9:30am and closes at 5pm.
The word on the street is that the Boonville Chamber of Commerce will be setting up a special bank account next week to receive monetary donations on behalf of fire victims. The American Red Cross has also set up operations in the village for helping those in need. Contributions to that organization are always welcome.
Rev. Dean and I have also recognized the need for crisis counseling to be made available to these residents. Together, we are currently trying to organize a network of local clergy for on-site support and are seeking to enlist the more qualified assistance of professional crisis counselors from other community service agencies.
Moments like these are when we get to show the world what we are made of. May the Light of Christ rise up in us this Easter and shine hope into the darkness of despair! May it be so. Amen.
Be blessed and be a blessing,
Rev. J. Barrett Lee