Pastor’s Corner: Imagining Recovery

May 4, 2022

At the risk of suggesting that the pandemic is over – health statistics indicate that it is not – I suggest we start thinking about the recovery from this disaster.

We have fairly recent experience with natural disasters here on Hawai’i Island. 2018 included both a significant volcanic eruption and a hurricane that cascaded four feet of rain on us in three days.

Disasters have three stages. First comes the event itself, which is sometimes over quickly, but as we found in 2018 with the eruption in Puna, can last for months. The response phase is next, seeking to reduce the immediate harm of the disaster. That might mean setting up temporary shelter or providing food and medical care. It extends into the initial cleanup just after the disaster event itself ends. Those whose homes have been flooded know just how much cleanup can be required.

The recovery phase frequently extends for months or years. It’s the stage where damaged homes get fixed and destroyed homes get replaced. It’s the time when people take up new lives.

How will we recover from this pandemic disaster?

The impact on working people has been enormous. Job cuts left many relying on savings, family, and government supports. A combination of rent relief funds and mediation services has, so far, prevented the wave of evictions feared by those involved in homelessness ministries. Folks are still behind on their plans for home repair, education, and medical treatment. Renters who had saved toward purchasing a home have to start their savings once again.

What are the needs that we can address as we feel our way into this disaster recovery? How can we make sure that those worst affected – particularly those left in grief – have the support of this church and this community? As we bring a special offering for homeless families this Mother’s Day, how can we plan to assist other struggling people around us?

Let’s get our heads together and see what we can come up with.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , , | Posted on May 4, 2022

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