Andrew Goes To Church

The saying goes, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” If so, churches across the nation have shown themselves true friends to one another in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, which ripped through southern Florida and Louisiana in late August. The storm, which left at least 38 dead and caused between $15 and $20 billion damage to Dade County, Florida, impaired or totally destroyed many churches and homes, leaving 117,000 people temporarily homeless. Even so, there are reports of renewed faith among some believers.

“I would describe the [church] response as overwhelming,” said John Swisher, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA), who is PCA director of disaster relief for southern Florida. “It seems as though for the most part the denominational lines are down, which doesn’t happen very often.”

Of the 60 evangelical churches in the city of Homestead, 90 percent of which was demolished, all were damaged and 15 to 20 were totally destroyed, according to Walter Sawatzky, pastor of Homestead Mennonite Church and vice-president of the Ministry Association of Homestead. Reports indicated that many churches in Florida City and Miami suffered extensive damage; walls were blown in and roofs were tom off.

The Miami Christian radio station WMCU, the area’s only English-language evangelical radio station, lost its broadcasting tower in Homestead. Station manager Steve James estimated it will be 12 to 18 months before the station fully recovers its former power and coverage, which spanned a 100-mile radius. The station, which is supported financially totally by listeners, must raise an estimated $60,000 to regain temporary service, which will at best cover only 70 to 80 percent of its former market. ...

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