One Sunday, gentle rain may fall on a sanctuary roof. The following Sunday, torrential storm waters can cover the sanctuary floor. Welcome to ministry in a climate-change context.
For almost 10 years, Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF) has anticipated the growing need to help congregations move effectively through recovery after a disaster, responding with our Building Disaster Response Service. The generosity of our donors continues to help underwrite this service, which comes alongside faith communities – at no charge – to help them navigate insurance claims and construction confusion in the wake of a disaster.
In 2022, Jim Michel, Building and Capital Services Advisor, lent his expertise in big and small details of disaster recovery for nine congregations impacted by disaster. In only the first quarter of 2023, he had been contacted by more than that, he said.
“If people think climate change isn’t real, they need to follow me around for a few weeks,” he said.
Jim advises church leaders on what to look for from their insurance carriers, what questions to ask, which steps to take, and how to navigate the complexities of construction contracts.
When Oakview Christian Church, Wichita, Kan., experienced a bumpy journey, Jim’s intervention overcame barriers posed by an insurance adjuster. With Jim’s “convincing,” the roof and steeple repairs moved ahead.
First Christian Church, Mayfield, Ky., saw its massive brick building destroyed by a tornado more than a year ago. DCEF remains a constant partner. With Jim’s steady presence and expertise, they have undertaken a “start from scratch” process to discern how to build back by building forward – as their discernment of God’s vision for them takes shape.
First Congregational Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, began the road to recovery after a rare derecho wind slammed through town. Destruction was extensive. Senior Minister Rev. Melanie Van Weelden, whose home was destroyed by the storm, too, said complications to recovery included overwhelmed insurance companies, a global pandemic, and the unique needs of a 129-year-old church building.
“We are indebted to DCEF and Jim a million times over for the gift he was to us. Sometimes we can be mired in our own stuff, but this experience reminded us how important and good it is when we reach out.”
When an adjustor didn’t fully understand or appreciate the unique features of their building, Jim was invaluable in representing them, said Rev. Melanie.
“He could speak the language of contractors and adjustors to help them to understand why we couldn’t just replace our antique brass light fixtures with something you pick up at Lowe’s.”
Your gifts to Disciples Church Extension Fund’s New Ways into the World endowment campaign help churches like these overcome adversity when they need help the most. Choose from various ways to give.