Situation Report Update - Fall Tornadoes
On November 20 a Community Prayer Service was held at the Washington Presbyterian Church. Pastor Becki Weltman, in her second year at Washington, serves as the president of the local ministerial association and led the service, attended by the Mayor, with pastors from five other churches offering prayers. Also in attendance were Rev. Sue Krummel, the general presbyter and stated clerk of the Presbytery of Great Rivers, and members of the PDA National Response Team.
Many residents took shelter in local churches, as the storm struck at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. Damage was widespread, impacting families of all faiths, including Presbyterians. No Presbyterian churches in the Presbytery of Great Rivers were damaged.
The Presbytery was to provide catered Thanksgiving Day dinners for residents and first responders in the communities of East Peoria and Pekin. Catering was provided by Hy-Vee Supermarket in Peoria, and volunteer church members served the meals. Other plans were made for meals on Thanksgiving Day in Washington.
A Long Term Recovery Committee is coordinating relief efforts for the areas of Peoria and Washington. The group was formed after flooding in April 2013 and includes the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and other faith-based groups.
During the first days following the tornadoes, Crossroads United Methodist Church served as a shelter, feeding center (2,500 meals daily), and insurance center for affected residents. The shelter service was only needed for a few days, as families found alternative housing, some with family and friends.
One week after the tornadoes, National Response Team members attended worship services in Washington and Pekin.
At the Washington Presbyterian Church, Sue Krummel encouraged attendees that the Presbytery and the national church stands with them and will be supporting them and their community. The congregation is already actively involved in recovery efforts.