By Stan Friedman
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (May 21, 2013) – Paul Cunningham, pastor of Westmoore Community Covenant Church, stood in the hallway of the Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Unit where he had been hospitalized the past month for a stroke, and watched Monday’s tornado bear down on his neighborhood.
As it turned out, the tornado, which was reported to be as wide as two miles at some points, missed his home by two blocks. Cunningham is returning to that home today.
Cunningham told Midsouth Conference Superintendent Garth Bolinder, “This is not the first time we have been through this. We need to remember this will be a long-term process of recovery and rebuilding.”
In the meantime, Westmoore and other Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) congregations are participating in relief work and planning to participate in the reconstruction.
The National Weather Service has estimated that the twister reached speeds of up to 190 mph as it tore a 17-mile path from Newcastle to Moore, a suburb south of Oklahoma City.
Journeychurch.tv, a Covenant congregation in Norman, is serving as a shelter. Westmoore will hold a candlelight prayer service for the entire community at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
ECC President Gary Walter said Monday, “We will stand with our churches in Oklahoma as they respond to their own members and the community.”
Covenant World Relief is accepting donations to help with relief and rebuilding work. Donations can be made online.
The Midsouth Conference office will be the primary conduit for the funds, which will distribute them to the local Covenant congregations as they assist their communities, Bolinder said.