Stonehouse Church family,
As we watch and prepare for this hurricane we wanted to send out word with details about Stonehouse Church, an eye on the future, and a call to prayer. Please take the time to read this entire post and help us spread the word by sharing with friends and neighbors.
First, we have cancelled our Sunday service for this week, September 10th. It does not appear that we will be directly hit by the storm here in St. Pete but we will still more than likely see windy conditions which will begin to impact us at the time of our Sunday service. Our main priority in considering these matters is the safety of everyone at Stonehouse Church.
Secondly, please let us know if you need help with anything before or after the storm. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to (727) 344-9680. We will try to rally folks to serve needs within our church family with preparations or recovery. Of course, we are not government officials so please call them first in an emergency. We urge you to be wise and prepare, to take precautions and to be safe. There are many websites available where you can learn about shelters, flood zones, and readiness — many organizations do these things much better than a church can so we encourage you to search them out if you have not already done so.
We also want to be ready after Irma passes to help serve your friends and neighbors, other churches in our area, and also churches around the state — especially in the most devastated areas. If you are made aware of needs around you please let us know if we can rally around you to help you serve those needs. Use the information above to inform us of these needs. We will also be learning of the needs that other communities have and will formulate a plan for responding alongside churches and friends around the state. We have already been contacted by leaders in our network who reassured us that if our city is hit hard we will have brothers and sisters mobilized to help us here. If things remain as predicted now we will be the ones preparing to go and help others, therefore, please let us know if you would be available to respond after the storm.
Finally, we are looking to the Lord. Two weeks ago, when we walked through Psalm 121, we encountered the Lord of heaven and earth who is our keeper. Let us turn together toward he who “neither slumbers nor sleeps” and put our trust in him. His keeping is powerful and personal, and most importantly he is the keeper of our souls. Scripture never says that God will keep us away from hurricanes and storms but that he will keep us even when we go through these things. Our world, even nature itself, is broken and in dysfunction, and we don’t have to look very far to see it. God is not absent in these times. He is sovereign over heaven and earth and there are terrible storms that bring destruction. We can look at these things with sobering honesty and say that this is not how the world was created to work. When we see storms like Harvey and Irma we see a world groaning to be restored and so we look to the one who restores. As we do, let’s join together in prayer for the Kingdom of Jesus to be made visible during these times, for churches to respond with grace and love in their communities, and for disciples of Jesus to endure with peace and be enabled to serve others in love. Let us also pray, certainly, for the storm’s effects to be mitigated — for Irma to somehow move in a way that affects less people and for safety and security for our loved ones and neighbors. Let’s pray that somehow, by the working of God in and through his people that others who are far from God will be saved and come to know Jesus even in the midst of a storm like this. May we trust he who holds us and keeps us and be part of his work to love and serve others, all for the glory of Christ. We’ll see you after the storm!
With love, in prayer for you all —