Holston prays for hurricane victims, adjusts to unseasonable snow

Holston prays for hurricane victims, adjusts to unseasonable snow

Fall leaves and snow conspire on an unusual day at Emory & Henry College. (Photo courtesy of E&H)

Holston members lifted up prayers for brothers and sisters battling Hurricane Sandy in other parts of the country, while making the best of a bizarre but picturesque pre-Halloween snow in southwest Virginia and upper east Tennessee.

Meanwhile, Holston's disaster response coordinator anticipated that "cleaning buckets" and Early Response Team workers might be needed to help the hard-hit Northeastern Jurisdiction.

"I expect the Northeastern Jurisdiction, because of the size of the storm ...  may not have the resources to respond and would ask for assistance," said Jim Fetzer. "As with all disasters, it will take time for all the damage assessments and response resource assessments to be completed before we hear anything about a request for deployment."

In the Alcoa Conference Center, Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor sent a request for Holston to pray for those whose Halloween week quickly turned tragic with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.

“Social media and news media now allow us to be more aware of how people are affected by catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy," Taylor said. "As we hear these stories and see these images, let us be in prayer for those who are and will be affected by circumstances beyond their control."    

A few power outages and closed schools and offices were reported within Holston boundaries on Oct. 30, with additional snow expected in higher elevations overnight.

The Rev. David Tabor, Tazewell District superintendent, measured 12 inches of snow in his parsonage backyard but said the roads were clear. The district parsonage and office are located in Tazewell, Va.

"Last night was pretty nasty, though, and we're supposed to get five to 11 inches more tonight," Tabor said on Tuesday, Oct. 30. "I went ahead and called off the charge conferences. I would hate for someone to get injured in this."

The Rev. Meg Taylor said that Wytheville, Va., experienced winds at 45-50 miles per hour the night Hurricane Sandy hammered the northeast coast. On the morning after (Oct. 30), her parsonage lawn was lightly dressed with one inch of snow. Further north in the district, Grayson County received two to five inches.

"Most of us are just amazed we never lost power," said Taylor, Wytheville District superintendent. "The news said that 718 people in Wythe County are without power." Thirty-five of the district's 115 churches are located in Wythe County, she said.

Elsewhere in Holston, church members continued with their fall festival and trunk-or-treat preparations, in many cases moving inside during unseasonably low temperatures.

"Rising Fawn had planned for our Community Halloween Block Party to be an outdoor event," said the Rev. Wayne Cook, pastor of the Chattanooga District church. "We are moving indoors to the fellowship hall. Plenty of food, fun and fellowship to be had [on Oct. 31], 6 to 8 p.m."

Allen Memorial (Cleveland District), Concord (Oak Ridge District), Pleasant View (Abingdon District), and Mount Olivet-Galax (Wytheville District) also moved their fall celebrations inside this week.

Other Holston members posted snowy scenes online that looked more wonderland-ish than ghostly or ghouly. (See Facebook photos from First Independence UMC and Emory & Henry College.)