Update on Trinity Church:
Although the church and rectory were untouched, they know of seven parishioners who have lost their homes completely. Right now they are trying to figure out what comes next – and asking people for prayers and for contributions to the Trinity discretionary fund. Please let anyone know that they may send contributions to the Trinity Church Discretionary Fund, c/o Trinity Church, PO Box 55, Gatlinburg, 37738.
They will be able to get back into the church and the neighborhoods on Wednesday. We are committing to pray for them for the foreseeable future and it would be very wonderful if you and your parishes would pray for them also.
The recovery will take a long time – 1,400 structures were destroyed, and many of those places provided housing to people who are poor, working just from one paycheck to the next, and folks with serious medical conditions that prevented them from working and living in places other than weekly rental motels. There will be plenty of work to do and needs to fill.
Bob Beasley, interim rector, says that right now they’re just worried about people and are looking for people they’ve already served to see how Trinity might help them. There are many low income, vulnerable people who will need work.
Members gathered at a parishioner’s house last evening for prayers, Eucharist and telling stories. A video of the gathering is expected to be posted shortly. Folks can tune into it on Trinity Gatlinburg You Tube at http://bit.ly/2g2moEN. While the stories of their flight from the fire were terrifying the many blessings and experiences of grace were just as inspiring.
Beasley said it’s important to note that although 1,400 buildings have been destroyed or damaged, a lot are still standing and there are a lot of people working on the area. Downtown Gatlinburg is fine. And parts of the surrounding areas are ok too.
Also, people are wanting to know what they can do. It appears that shelters and collection sites are overflowing with goods; they have so much that they are sending them to other areas. It’s still best to give money to reputable organizations that are working in Gatlinburg. Trinity’s discretionary fund and the Red Cross are two great ways to help. The Red Cross posts needs on its web site. Keep checking the news as needs will change over time.
Peace and prayers to you.