Update: Read the latest from Virtue Online regarding our member parish in Joplin. Reformed Episcopal Church Bishop Sam Seamans was on the ground on the 26th and brought this video footage back with him.
The Anglican Church in North America and its members immediately went to the Lord in prayer following the devastating tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, May 22. With an estimated death toll of 125 at press time, the twister is the deadliest of its kind since officials began keeping records in 1950. Roughly 1,500 people have been reported missing, in addition to 750 who were injured. Neighborhoods were leveled and 2,000 buildings were destroyed according to news reports.
The storm system that impacted Joplin comes in the middle of a record year for tornadoes, as recovery efforts continue in the South and more deaths and injuries were reported across the Midwest this week. The National Weather Service told CBS News, “There were 506 tornadoes reported in the U.S. through this date last year. It’s already more than double that - 1,151 - this year.” It was also noted that tornadoes have killed more than 500 people so far in 2011, seven times the average.
The Anglican Church in North America has nine member parishes in Missouri, including Church of Our Savior in Joplin, part of the Reformed Episcopal Church. The Senior Warden reports the building they rent for worship services was completely destroyed along with all furnishings and materials. However, the church is offering prayers of thanks as no one in the congregation was injured or killed.
The Anglican Church in North America has been in close communication with Bishop Royal Grote of the Reformed Episcopal Church Diocese of Mid-America to discern how we can best aid in the recovery efforts. In addition to prayer, those who feel led to contribute financially can mail checks to: Diocese of Mid-America, 4142 Dayflower Dr., Katy, TX 77494 with “Church of Our Savior Joplin” noted in the memo line. The Anglican Church office is also contacting member parishes in Missouri to organize teams that can assist on the ground.
Almighty and eternal Father, we appeal to you, asking for a pouring out of your Holy Spirit on all who are suffering through the devastation wrought by deadly winds in Joplin, Missouri, and across the region. We ask comfort and hope for those who suffer without the assurance of knowing your Son our Lord, Christ Jesus. We ask for strength, courage, and compassion for all Christians, and especially our Anglican brothers and sisters as they seek to serve others while enduring their own losses. Give us all generous hearts and open hands. Enable us to send help that demonstrates your love and your character flowing through us. Trusting in your merciful Providence, we lay all these troubles and sorrows before you in the name of your Son our Savior Jesus. Amen.
Photo Caption: On this Sunday, May 22, 2011 photo, two young Joplin, Mo, residents carry their dog and head to a rescue center after their home was destroyed by a tornado that hit the southwest Missouri city on Sunday evening. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long destroying homes and businesses. Credit: Mike Gullett/Associated Press