The forest fires spreading across our Pacific Northwest region have put countless lives in danger and will destroy an estimated $20 billion in a property. As our communities reel from the devastation that these natural disasters have caused on top of the lockdown measures we have endured in order to stem the transmission of the coronavirus, it’s important to start thinking about how we will rebuild in the wake of tragedy.
Starting over is a whole community effort. Many of your parishioners have likely suffered as a result of these overlapping hardships, so rebuilding the church is more than just a focus on structural damage.
Repair the soul of your community.
Your community needs leadership above all else. A strong pastor is a fundamental necessity, especially for those groups that have seen extensive damage or loss as a result of these catastrophic conditions. Remembering that the church is more than simply a building is crucial to getting your faithful community back on its feet. This means organizing home bible study, mass services in the park, or scheduling Zoom meetings for your parishioners so that they can speak with you and each other during a regular weekly call.
Returning your community to at least a partial sense of normalcy is essential, and this starts with scheduling some form of weekly meetings. Mass plays a central role in the lives of many of your regulars, so the lack of a building may hit some members very hard. You must work continuously to supply the spiritual guidance that is lacking from a break in regular scheduling. Of course, there are methods of communing that don’t require in-person meetings. You’ll have to make sure that your parish understands that these alternatives are just as spiritually fulfilling and will provide the same sense of community that they would receive if they were there alongside you and the rest of the church.
Rebuild the edifice of faith.
The physical building is an important part of your community’s practice of faith. While not the be-all and end-all, the ability to congregate in one location and worship together is important for many practitioners. Rebuilding your structure and the outreach programs that go along with your church are also important in order to get your community back on its feet. Replacing lost church supplies doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the help of wholesalers and faith-based suppliers of communion wafers, robes, candles, and crucifixes, these important accessories can go a long way to making your community feel at ease.
Additionally, an online search of “storage San Diego, CA” can help you to rent a storage unit and clean up any remnants of damage in your cathedral while keeping your new equipment safe from any debris or additional damage.
Cleaning the church can also be used as a transformative event for those battling depression or a feeling of loss during this time. Once the fire department has certified that your church is safe to enter you can organize members of the community to help with some of the repair and cleaning work that must be done to restore the building to its former glory. Members will likely jump at the chance to put their faith into action and help return the space to its function as a sanctuary for the weary and troubled. It’s also a great way to quickly get the building back into working order so that you can resume mass sooner rather than later.
Rebuilding after these tragic fires will take a community effort, but it’s something that your parish will not balk at. Help your neighbors get back on their feet and they will flock back to the church.