Volunteers from Wickline and Frederick Churches help clear tornado debris in Newalla.
Youths of Wickline and Frederick churches used the continuing Oklahoma tornado disaster relief efforts as an opportunity to bridge the 139-mile gap between them.
Working jointly as a team of about 40, they cleared brush and debris July 27 for a property owner in the Newalla area.
In Midwest City, Wickline UMC has been lodging mission teams from all over the nation, in cooperation with VIM, since the May storms. The church’s family life center has been occupied almost every week.
The youth group from Frederick UMC, southwest of Lawton, also stayed at Wickline after attending a Bricktown ballgame in Oklahoma City. And they invited Wickline youths to join them for a day of service.
"We thought it was a great idea and used the opportunity to create and maintain friendships," said David Hanigar, director of Wickline’s student ministries. Frederick mission coordinator Jaime Miller offered the invite.
Hanigar learned some rural sites still lacked power and had fallen trees and storm debris that could keep busy a large team of volunteers. The combined group deployed to Newalla.
Wickline’s pastor, Eric Snyder, previously served at Frederick, forming a natural connection between the groups. However, the coordinated effort is something Hanigar said any church can do.
"As we look for ways to represent Christ to the community, it’s important for us to remember we’re not working as individual congregations, but as a United Methodist body of Christ. The continuing disaster relief efforts are one great way to strengthen that body," said Hanigar.