Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Arkansas Church Damaged by Tornado on Maundy Thursday

The town of Mena, Ark., was devastated by a tornado late on Maundy Thursday. While the congregation of Christ Church was spared injury, its building sustained an unknown degree of structural damage, according to a diocesan news report.

Mena, population 5,700, is a mountain town about 20 miles east of the Oklahoma border. The tornado, which was preceded by high winds and thunderstorms, killed three, two in their homes and one in a Masonic lodge where the roof collapsed, according to the New York Times.

Christ Church lost electricity and had most of its windows blown out in the church and the parish hall. Both buildings probably will need to have the roofs replaced, according to the news release. The full extent of the structural damage is still unknown as emergency responders were still assisting with rescue efforts at press time.

The Rev. Jos Tharakan, rector of All Saints’, Russellville, visited Mena on Good Friday to help provide pastoral care. The Rt. Rev. Larry Maze, Bishop of Arkansas from 1994 to 2006, celebrated the Eucharist at Christ Church on Easter Day and brought a check with him from the bishop’s discretionary fund to help with repairs and relief.

When asked what the people of Mena needed the most, Sharon Dawley, senior warden at the church, told diocesan officials that money would be the most helpful.

“People will need to start getting their lives back together, and it will take money, for example, to buy the right size of clothing, and to buy the household items that we take for granted each day,” she said. Ms. Dawley noted that it is not usually possible to outfit a family for the long run with the used clothing that often arrives immediately after a disaster.

More here-


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