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Author Archives: Beth Sutton
It’s not easy being a victim of flooding. Being a volunteer is easier. For years my husband and I went to Mississippi to help with Hurricane Katrina. We would talk to those that experienced the flooding and being misplaced from homes and love ones. To hear about being trapped in homes with water rising and hoping someone would come and rescue them. You can watch the news channels and listen to their stories being told. But nothing can prepare you for the heartbreak that they endure. At times, I felt lost as what to say. “I’m sorry” was not the correct response. Each time we would return and hear more stories about flood victims restoring their home. One day, when my husband compared the destruction from Katrina to Vietnam, he said he felt that Katrina was worse. Each year we watch and see different parts of the U.S. being torn by floods, fire, etc. and yet, it still does not prepare you. Your heart breaks and you want to help.
Several years ago when the opportunity came to be a PW/PDA trainer, I know that was a calling, another part of being a volunteer. To help prepare those before something would happen. As I spread the word and would put questions in people’s heads, I felt that even if one person listened then I had done my job as a trainer.
Last year I became a victim during Hurricane Matthew. Yes, I was prepared, I thought. We had flood and home owners insurance, we safely evacuated with our family and pets. We called ourselves the “traveling zoo”! There were five adults, two teenagers, five cats and one dog. We had stops to feed the “humans”! We returned home once we knew that everything was safe and still standing (including having water and electric). We were sure that the roads were clear of power lines and water. As soon as I walked in our house I knew that we had experienced flooding in the house. Nothing could have been done to stop the water. This was a different experience for me. You think that this will never happen to you. But it can and no matter how much you think you’re prepared for something, it can be taken out of your hands. Yes, we were safe with our family and pets. And all that “stuff’ in our house can replaced, but not our family.
As we started our clean up and connecting with insurance companies to put our lives and house back in order, a new adventure began – a PW/PDA trainer seeing the other side – as a home owner who has insurance, thank goodness. If we hadn’t, who knows what we would have done. Cleared out the damaged floors and rooms and moved on as we could. What happened next is something that no one needs to experience.
My husband had started the all the paperwork for the house and calling for quotes and bids to replace what was damaged. I went to our Synod Gathering at Epworth by the Sea, as a workshop trainer a few weeks after Matthew hit. We didn’t know if we were going to have the gathering, but thank goodness the retreat center had tree damage and a few other mishaps but we were able to hold our event. Returning from our PW event and moving forward on the house my husband passed away.
It took a lot of strength and support from not only my family, my church and my PW sisters in Christ to move forward. To go from being a volunteer, a trainer and then a victim of flooding, you think you’re prepared, but you’re not. Yes, I’m still putting the pieces back together in my life. My life will never be the same and neither will those that are victims of human or natural disasters. Pray and support when you can.
HOPE is the answer. Hear Our Prayers Everywhere
Molly McCarthy, Savannah PW Moderator, PW/PDA Trainer
Over the years as Moderator for the Savannah Presbytery Presbyterian Women, I have had the opportunity not only to represent our Presbytery for PW, but also our church. Sixteen years ago as a new member of the Savannah PW as the District I representative, I was asked to help the then Moderator Lois Stroman for a meeting to be held in Savannah. Little did I realize then that in the years to come I would be doing what she did!
As Moderator for Savannah Presbytery you are part of our Synod PW Coordinating team. Our Synod is made up of 16 presbyteries from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, a moderator from each presbytery and then others that are elected to fill other positions on the Coordinating team for 28-30 women. Each spring our meeting moves to different place. Thus, being that it has been sixteen years since the last meeting was held in Savannah. I helped Lois in finding a hotel for all that was closed to First Presbyterian Church, Savannah where the meeting was held. Besides Lois, I couldn’t tell you who was on that Synod PW CT. But I did get to see them at their work for PW, never realizing that someday I would be attending those meetings.
For the last several years I have traveled to different churches for those meeting and when the calendar said 2017 Savannah Presbytery, I realized then that this meeting had to be held at my church! The date for this event has been on the church calendar and approved by session for over a year. On Friday and Saturday, April 21-22, 2017 our church will hold this meeting for the Synod of South Atlantic Presbyterian Women Coordinating Team or SOSA PW CT. Some are coming early to sight see around Savannah and/or stay over to enjoy our city. May even come and worship with us on Sunday. We will have dinner on Friday night in our Social Hall, and then start our meeting. Then on Saturday morning we will finish up our meeting and head for home. Some will be taken to the airport and others will car pool home. These meetings cover what is happening not only in each presbytery, but also our Synod and Churchwide levels of PW. Lots of information is passed and shared.
In the weeks to come as I put the final touches on this event, I hope you will help in welcoming these ladies, my Sisters in Christ to our church. It takes the village to make this happen. If you can help in any way, please let me know
* For the vocation of Pastor and those who claim it as calling; seeking to proclaim to the people the presence of and the living in God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
* For faithful people I know who seek to follow Jesus and minister to those in need of God’s love, mercy and grace.
* For our part of the Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and its diversity across the nation and the world which sometimes seem to divide us, but, in reality, unites us in following Jesus Christ as Lord, in ministry that no single congregation, session, presbytery, or synod could accomplish alone, to the Glory of God.
* For five grown children and their families. I am so proud of them
* For nine wonderful grandchildren from 21 to 13 years who are growing up, faster than I would like, but are all doing good things.
* For Kathy who tolerates my busy schedule, loves me still after 38 years, and keeps me grounded in my life and vocation.
*For a house full of animals, three dogs and four cats. Among them is my Chocolate Lab, Mack, who is man’s best friend and certainly my close companion. Also there is among our rescue cats, Tripod, who we found almost dead but who, after a leg was amputated, decided he wanted to live. He exudes gratitude more than many people and will come when I call him.
* For my home with a wildlife refuge for a neighborhood and wonderful sunrises over the marshlands.
* For the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of of God’s creation and the various touches of love from friends and family.
* For our country with all its splendor and its faults. I am fortunate to have been born here for I did not decide it. Even in the midst of the divisions I try to remember that we have the freedom to choose our leaders. That makes us special in contrast to so much of the world. It also reminds me that we are called not to put too much emphasis on who is in power because we are all dust. Our trust is in God’s power and who is calling us to be a people who live through the resurrection of Jesus until we complete the promise of our baptism on this earth.
Grace and Peace,