Virginia pastors plead for help after floods damage church, homes

Virginia pastors plead for help after floods damage church, homes

Mt. Hermon United Methodist Church in Bandy, Virginia, sustained severe flood damage and is in urgent need of mission teams. Photo by Daniel Bradley

Please see our July 22 update on this story.


ALCOA, Tenn. – Mission leaders are asking for financial donations as they aid two Southwest Virginia counties slammed by floods on Tuesday, July 12. 

Pastors closest to the flood areas are also asking for work teams to help with clean-up efforts in Tazewell and Buchanan Counties.  

A United Methodist church in Tazewell County sustained heavy damage on Tuesday and faces an expensive clean-up effort. The Rev. Daniel Bradley, pastor at Mt. Hermon United Methodist Church in Bandy, said he needs immediate assistance to save the church building and to help desperate families in 15 damaged homes.
Damaged home in Pilgrim's Knob, Va.
Photo by Donnie Bailey


In Buchanan County, an estimated 100 homes were destroyed or damaged by floodwaters, most in the Whitewood community near Dismal Creek, others in Pilgrim’s Knob. The Rev. Donnie Bailey, pastor of nearby Grundy United Methodist Church and Looney’s Chapel United Methodist Church, said he is prepared to host work teams to help residents recover.

In the last few days, Holston Conference sent hundreds of “cleaning buckets” to flooded areas and is now raising money to assist with recovery. The Rev. Mike Sluder, Holston director of connectional ministries, said he requested a $10,000 disaster-aid grant from UMCOR, as well as grants from Holston Foundation and other ministry teams.
 
Harry Howe drives disaster trailer to
Vanzant, Va. Photo by Danny Howe

The Rev. Harry Howe responded quickly to news of the floods, delivering a Holston disaster-response trailer on Wednesday to Looney’s Chapel in Vanzant, Virginia.

Howe also took “cleaning buckets” from Holston Conference’s stockpile to Bradley, Bailey and an elementary school in Buchanan County serving as a disaster-response staging area.

Bradley said he “almost had a heart attack” when he saw flood damage at Mt. Hermon and received an initial quote of $17,000 to remove mud and water and sanitize the site. The Rev. Jane Taylor, Clinch Mountain District superintendent, said work teams are urgently needed to help Mt. Hermon and the residents of Bandy.
 
A house in Pilgrim's Knob, Va.
Photo by Donnie Bailey

Bailey delivered cleaning buckets directly to several families in the hard-hit Pilgrim’s Knob community. “I found a family that had a bunch of kids but no water to drink,” Bailey said, “so I took them 20 gallons of water. I don’t like to see kids without water.”

Prior to Tuesday’s flood, Holston Conference had about 1,200 cleaning buckets in storage to help survivors of disasters, Howe said. Also known as “flood buckets,” cleaning buckets are stuffed with detergent, rubber gloves, sponges, trash bags and other disaster-response supplies.

Howe asked Holston church members to begin assembling more cleaning buckets to replace the buckets used this week and in the weeks to come. Howe is director of Project Crossroads in Marion, Virginia.
 

How to help

Mission teams to Bandy: Contact the Rev. Daniel Bradley at 276-245-3445.

Mission teams to Buchanan County: Contact the Rev. Donnie Bailey at 276-780-1683.

To donate money for July 2022 flood clean-up: Give online through Holston Conference -- or contact Bradley or Bailey (phone numbers provided above) to give directly.

To make cleaning buckets: See UMCOR’s instructions, then contact your pastor or district office for delivery and storage information.
 

Author

annette july 2023.jpg
Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newsletter.

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Rev. Daniel Bradley vacuums water from a flood-damaged home in Bandy, Virginia, on July 18. Photo by Valerie Ritter.
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