Submitted by Rev. Phil Hodson, Conference Minister

Your anchor passage at annual meeting 2021 came from Mark’s gospel. It referenced the storm over the lake and Jesus’ rebuke of the storm. At annual meeting reflections were offered on how God is with us in the midst of the storm and the power of faith in uncertain circumstances.

But there’s something else here, buried in the text. After Jesus rebukes the storm, all becomes quiet and still. In the stillness, in the quiet, the disciples reflect on who Jesus is and his significance in their lives. Today I write you in that strange quiet, almost surreal in-between space. A space where we are just beginning to understand the damage caused by Hurricane Ida in New Orleans. A space that has yet to be found for many as rain continues to shower across Louisiana, Mississippi, and makes its way north and east. A space where we can take stock of the reality of climate change in our world. A space where we can give thanks for lives spared. A space where we are going to remain, prayerfully together, for a little bit. I’ve heard from many already who want to spring into action, but we’re in a place where we don’t have enough information yet. We know there has been damage to several of our churches, and so we pray for them, knowing that we will respond with our bodies in working prayer to help rebuild and repair when the time comes. As we sit together in this space for a little while there is one other thing we can do: get ready. Pray up and ask God if we have the capacity to step in and help with rebuilding physically when the time comes. Pray up and then share our gifts so that the resources will be available to our churches and the wider communities when the time comes. 

We are a denomination built on being in covenant with one another. Being there for one another. And we, in the South Central Conference, will be. For today, we pray. And we prepare for the next faithful steps when the time is right. Each of us can give, as we are able, to lay the groundwork for recovery by responding to the Special Appeal issued this week by the national setting. I encourage us to do so. Let’s get ready, the action will spring forth in God’s good time.


Rev. Phil Hodson
Conference Minister
South Central Conference, 
United Church of Christ
3610 River Road
New Braunfels, TX 78132
T: (830) 625-2212 x 4 C: (765) 532-3429