Katrina hits two Miami churches

On Thursday evening, August 25, high winds and rain ravaged the Miami area, leaving millions without electricity and one BIC church—Jesucristo Fiel y Verdadero—without a roof.

But water damage to the interior of the building and to the sound equipment failed to dampen the spirits of the congregation. The 400 attendees of Jesucristo Fiel y Verdadero simply moved outside for Sunday’s worship service.

The church’s leadership team is looking into insurance and repairs, but as with most tropical storm damage, it will likely be months before repairs are completed. “After a storm, we always have the problem of getting enough materials and building contracts,” explains Eduardo Llanes, associate bishop for Spanish-speaking churches in the Southeast Conference of the BIC.

 Another church, Bethel BIC of Miami, lost its steeple in the storm, and also sustained a great deal of tree damage, amounting to an estimated $25,000 in needed clean up and repairs. Although the building’s interior was unharmed, the Bethel congregation of 600 people also was unable to meet inside on Sunday. Without electricity to power the air conditioning, the Florida heat and humidity made indoor worship unbearable.

The good news is that no one from these congregations was harmed during the storm. Llanes looks apprehensively to the future, as changing weather patterns threaten to bring more tropical storms. “We have already had several storms this year, and we still have two more months of hurricane season,” he says. “We can only hope and pray . . . or move.”

Contributions designated for Hurricane Katrina clean-up can be sent to Mennonite Disaster Service. Visit MDS online>