On February 14, 2018, a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland rattled our community. Seventeen people were killed and fourteen more hospitalized. Among the victims were students, teachers and faculty members. As our community continues to mourn the loss of life and bears the burden of grief, we as the Broward Church (and all who will join) have decided to call on God for guidance, wisdom, comfort, peace and hope.
Disciples in the state of Florida are so grateful for your faithful and fervent prayers for us!
We are still trying to assess the damage of the storm, but so far, the report is good. With all thirteen of our churches checked in, it looks like all brothers and sisters are safe, though some have had damage to their homes and most are without power.
Currently disciples across Florida are preparing for the worst from Hurricane Irma which is nearly the size of Texas. At the moment Irma is bearing down on the Southwest Church in Ft. Myers/Naples area, then the Sarasota church, then the Tampa Church. The Gainesville Church, the 1200 Church in Tallahassee, Crossway in Tallahassee, South Lake and the Orlando Church should all feel the effects of rain and tropical force winds. The South Florida Church is also experience rain and tropical force winds with gusts up to 100 mph. Needless to say the vast majority of our churches will feel it and three are currently in the direct path. And this could all change with the unpredictable nature of these storms.
Can you imagine what it would be like hanging out with heroes of faith listed in the Bible? The apostles, Barnabas, Lydia, and then the evangelism, encouragement, and fellowship that would follow?!
We are convinced that there are many new and fresh ideas that would increase Christian outreach and ministry effectiveness, but may never be fleshed out because they are "not the way we have always done things." We want to create an environment to share ideas – an experimental breeding ground if you will – to bring those great ideas out in the open. Our conviction is that while Jesus is perfect, we have not perfected the ways to do "ministry" – nor will we ever – but we ought to continue to grow in our abilities, and learn to accomplish Jesus' purposes in every way that we can.
The Orlando Church of Christ wishes to thank all of our brothers and sisters and friends all over the world for your love and support during the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history. At this point, we are not aware of any of our church members or their immediate family or friends who were affected. One of our brothers who is in law enforcement and was one of the first responders early Sunday morning saw firsthand the horror of the situation.
If you want to help, please pray for us (1 Thessalonians 5:17), the victims and their families. The most critical need that we are aware of is for blood donations and we are encouraging our members to do this. Please pray that the Orlando church can be a light during these dark times.
We are all stunned by the death of our brother, Ben Pierre, on Monday, June 6. All initial reports of the incident indicate that Ben was accidentally caught in the crossfire of a street shooting. Our hearts and our help go out to Shannon, Ben’s wife, and their two boys, Ben Jr. (5) and Ethan (3).