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Disasters hit Alabama; relief efforts vital part of Baptist ministrycomment (0)

January 3, 2002

By Greg Heyman

Church life in Alabama marched forward in 2001 — even when disaster struck congregations in the form of tornadoes and fires.

A series of tornadoes that struck Alabama Nov. 24 left three Alabama churches with extensive damage. First Baptist Church, Haleyville; Central Baptist Church, Argo; and First Baptist Church, Daleville, received severe damage after the church’s buildings were affected by the storms that day.

The estimated damage for First, Haleyville, stands at nearly $3.5 million.

The Birmingham Baptist Association assisted with cleanup at Central Baptist, while Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions disater relief volunteers helped at First, Daleville.

Mother Nature also hit Alabama hard Feb. 16, with storms that forced churches throughout the state to cancel Sunday morning services after 357,000 homes and businesses through the state were left without electricity.

Members of Trinity Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa were devastated when their church was destroyed in a fire believed to have been set by arsonists.

Other churches experiencing loss were three Vance-area churches near Tuscaloosa, which were vandalized in July.

While cleaning up their own state, Alabama Baptists also remained eager to assist others affected by disaster in 2001.

In February, members of Macedonia Baptist Church in Coates Bend helped residents of Etowah in rebuilding after their homes were lost to a tornado.

Members of Baptist churches in Tuscaloosa showed their compassion by ministering to the families following a Sept. 23 mine explosion near Tuscaloosa. Thirteen people were killed and three injured in the explosion of Jim Walter Blue Creek Mine No. 5 in Brookwood.

Baptists also responded to tragedies elsewhere, including:

Members of Alabama Baptist churches helped with disaster relief following an earthquake that hit El Salvador Jan. 13. Along with sending disaster relief teams, Alabama Baptists donated jackets, family-sized tents, Bibles, New Testaments and tracts.

Alabama Baptists helped cleanup following flooding in West Virginia and sent a child-care team to Louisiana following the summer flooding there.

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