From the Pulpit: Needs remain on Gulf coast

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It&8217;s rare for me to be at a loss for words. Yet it&8217;s hard to describe the experience of being part of an eight-person team from Helena Methodist that went to the New Orleans area recently to do hurricane relief work. We all felt the renewed hope of an 80-year-old woman after we began repairs on her home in Gretna, La. No one else had touched it in the six months since Katrina. And we felt the incredible power of the disaster as we stood atop the reconstructed 17th Street Levee, which failed during the storm and turned a neighborhood much like ours into a ghost town.

Near the breach, someone used spray paint to write &8220;RIP&8217;&8217; on a badly damaged home. The people who are trying to recover from this tragedy are our neighbors, and right now they are &8220;The least of these&8217;&8217; – the people Jesus tells us to help. In the coming weeks our church will make more trips to metro New Orleans, where we are partnering with Gretna United Methodist Church to help it and its members recover from Katrina.

We&8217;ll also send groups to the Mississippi coast, where the destruction was even worse than in the New Orleans area. Not everyone can travel to the coast. So we&8217;ll also be looking for ways to help with the hurricane relief effort right here in Helena.

There is incredible, unprecedented need just a few hours from here. What will we do to help? What will you do?

Jay Reeves is a leader at Helena United Methodist Church