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30
Mar
2017

Update: Fort McMurray Wildfire Response

March 30th, 2017 | in Emergency Relief |    0   

The fire in May took its toll on our city. It took its toll on the people of our church, and it took its toll on us as a team. We want to take a moment in the middle of our rebuilding and growing from the fire to thank you for your gifts and let you know how much they helped us in the midst of a devastating time.

We opened our doors to the first responders battling the blaze and keeping our city safe. They needed a place to call out to God and let out their frustrations. Opening the church to be a safe place for them to do this was healing and empowering.

Sundays at Beulah

The Alliance family of churches rushed to our aid immediately following the fire, allowing us to hold Sunday services at Beulah Alliance in Edmonton, AB, where a large number of our people were evacuated. Thank you to Beulah, and thank you to those of you who supported us during that time. Having a place to come together in worship while displaced helped the solidarity of the Fort City family grow.

Samaritan’s Purse Partnership

Fort City became the headquarters of Samaritan’s Purse, and we partnered with them to sift through the ash and the destruction during cleanup. We helped them connect families and individuals with the support they needed.

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Coming back to Fort McMurray, we saw the incredible destruction in and around our city. People were struggling to find where they fit or how to slide back into routine. Coming back into town that first Sunday, we had a church service. With few other churches open, our first service became a city-wide celebration of God’s love in the midst of pain and chaos.

The generous flow of financial support allowed us to set out our plans for moving forward. We planned for a big push in September, hiring four contracted workers to relieve our staff team and help us recover well as a team and a church. But that was months out, and we had families in need that required help now.

Streaming Equipment

For those not yet back from evacuation, we were able to get the equipment necessary to live stream our services and let them participate along with us no matter how far away they were. This has continued to be a large part of our outreach, and many of our new people are finding us online before they ever step foot into our doors.

Kids’ Camp

We had our kids’ camp that was well attended, and it was great to see the children of Fort McMurray with glowing smiles again, running around without a care in the world. Allowing these kids to experience camp before heading back to school was invaluable in giving them that sense of normalcy.

Pastoral Associates

Then our big push came in September. Four pastoral associates came up and joined us in various aspects of our ministries. It was awesome to see what we were able to do unburdened from the details of post-fire life. Things we never even thought of became a huge part of our ministry to the community.

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Moving Forward

The fire has fostered an environment where people are reaching out and looking for meaning and connection. More than half of our church attendance never once attended before the fire. We are seeing baptisms and lives changed in people with little to no church background. These people are finding hope in the message of Christ. People are coming in knowing that there is a building called “Fort City” and leaving knowing there is a God who loves them.

Thank You

From the entire staff team here at Fort City Church, thank you! We have all valued and sensed the support from all kinds of churches, organizations, and individuals who have empowered us to be more effective in assisting our city’s recovery.

That recovery process continues, and will for a good while yet. We would appreciate your ongoing prayer and support as we continue to serve our city.

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GO

Read more stories on the wildfire:


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Doug Doyle

Doug Doyle is the lead pastor at Fort City Church.

more stories by Doug Doyle
Tags: Fort-McMurray, wildfire, fire, Alberta, Western-Canadian-District, Global-Emergency-Response-Fund, prayer, update, news

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