It was, per the insurance industry, an "act of God," but hurricanes Charley and Frances did not spare churches and other religious groups in Florida though they caused less damage than projected.
The Church of the Nazarene reported that a church in Punta Gorda was a total loss in the storm that hit the state August 13. In total, about 400 mid-Florida churches, synagogues, and temples sustained damage.
Further inland, the 40-acre campus of the Pioneers missions agency, near the Orlando International Airport, sustained damage estimated at nearly $1 million. An agency-owned 120-site recreational campground was hit hard. Hurricane Charley destroyed several vehicles and the mission's lakefront guest units. Other Orlando-based ministries—including Wycliffe Bible Translators, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Reformed Theological Seminary—reported minimal damage.
Numerous faith-based relief organizations have begun to deliver supplies. "You give them some water, and it's like you gave them a bar of gold," said Steve Ewing of Convoy of Hope, a relief organization working with the Assemblies of God. Mickey Caison, manager of the Disaster Operations Center at the North American Mission Board, said 175 Southern Baptist disaster-relief units could be activated.
"During Hurricane Andrew [in 1992] we probably did not have but about 60 disaster-relief units in the whole fleet in the United States, and now we've got 498," Caison said.
The Church of the Nazarene has information on how to help as well as news from the front lines of the hurricane.
News elsewhere on the hurricane's impact on churches includes:
Hurricane Charley disrupts church services | Hurricane Charley destroyed the regular place of worship for the members of Harbor ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more