Newsline Special: Brethren Disaster Ministries update on Hurricane Dorian, NOAC coverage begins from Lake Junaluska

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by” (Psalm 57:1).

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries issues update on Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian. Courtesy of NOAA.

By Jenn Dorsch-Messler

Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) have been closely monitoring Hurricane Dorian since the start of the storm, and as the forecast for the path seems to change with each update. Now up to a Category 5 strength over the Bahamas, Dorian is still headed for a hit along the coast of Florida later this week, and is expected to turn up the coast toward Georgia and the Carolinas.

Please pray for the Bahamas, and for all those in the path of this catastrophic storm including the US Virgin Islands.

Children’s Disaster Services

CDS has been in close contact with the Red Cross for any deployment needs in advance of the storm. As the storm track changes so do the potential needs and locations for CDS volunteers. Two teams of volunteers are on standby for when and where they may be needed to be able to deploy quickly. According to Lisa Crouch, associate director of CDS, the Red Cross “ is actively monitoring where and when sheltering needs will come into place and know CDS is available and ready. For that they are thankful and we are still standing by.”

Puerto Rico

The storm ended up turning away from the island and only hitting areas in the eastern part of the territory with no major damage. Puerto Rico District disaster coordinator José Acevedo reported that they were still monitoring any needs that they could help address, but that things seemed clear and prayers were answered with a near miss.


Brethren Disaster Ministries just moved a second rebuilding project site to the Jacksonville area this past week to support the Hurricane Irma recovery that continues. Now on that anniversary week, two years later, Hurricane Dorian is expected to move up the Florida coast later this week.

The first group of volunteers scheduled to serve at the Jacksonville site arrived Sunday at the volunteer housing that is located at a camp. The group plans to do Irma home rebuilding work on Monday and Tuesday before staying back at the camp during the winds and rains expected from Dorian on Wednesday. They also are working with the camp to help the staff there prepare and secure the grounds and property.

North and South Carolina

Brethren Disaster Ministries is still doing rebuilding in North Carolina to serve families affected by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018. People there are preparing for another potential event. Many survivors and those working with the recovery are experiencing post-traumatic stress and sharing that they are not sure that they can handle a third event, including two in less than a year.

Plans for the Brethren Disaster Ministries project site will be determined as the week goes on, and will depend on the hurricane forecast. The mandatory evacuations in South Carolina, where road directions are being reversed, are for counties east of where Brethren Disaster Ministries is working.

— Jenn Dorsch-Messler is director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. For more about this Church of the Brethren ministry go to . To financially support this work give to the Emergency Disaster Fund at .

2) NOAC coverage begins from Lake Junaluska

Living Stream Church of the Brethren is the denomination’s only fully online congregation. Shown here, it webcast a church service from Lake Junaluska, N.C., prior to the start of 2019’s National Older Adult Conference.

Onsite coverage of the 2019 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) has begun from Lake Junaluska, N.C. Some 675 or more participants are arriving to enjoy a week of inspiration and recreation under the theme, “Reaching…Across Generations, Beyond Differences, Through Conflict…into Joy” (Romans 15:7). Find the NOAC news index page at .

Webcasting began last evening, Sunday, Sept. 1, with a Living Stream worship service held with a view of the lake (go to ). Webcasting continues this evening at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) with the opening NOAC worship service featuring preacher and Bethany Seminary professor Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm. All of the NOAC worship services and keynote speakers and some other events will be webcast to view live or as recordings. For webcasts and a schedule go to .

Onsite coverage also includes daily news pages, photo albums, worship bulletins, the daily news sheet “Senior Moments,” and more. Find these links on the NOAC news index page at .

Some events will be featured in brief Facebook Live videos on the NOAC Facebook page at . This evening’s “Vigil for Holy Hospitality” for immigration concerns will be one of them, starting around 9 p.m. (Eastern time).

For questions about NOAC news coverage contact Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren, at or 224-735-9692.

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