First Church in North Fort Myers is a focal point for relief work following Hurricane Ian

From the First Church newsletter, provided to Newsline by Atlantic Southeast District

The last few months at First Church of the Brethren North Fort Myers, Fla., has shown us all that God is truly in the details of our lives and our church. The strategic location of our building and the large parking lot made us the focal point of essential water and food distribution after the devastation our community received from Hurricane Ian. A Baptist ministry from South Carolina brought in portable hot showers and an abundance of supplies from tarps to diapers. While the church was without electricity, we were still able to continue our Hot Dog Ministry and meet the immediate needs of the homeless in our community. The American Red Cross set up food trucks, while other ministries brought water and food and clothing to help with the vast needs that surrounded us.

Damage to our church was minimal with only the vinyl siding torn off the steeple, soffit, and a few shingles over the sanctuary. The church sign blew over but not away, so with the help of neighbor Bob Hill it was soon standing upright again.

Photos of volunteers distributing aid at First Church of the Brethren North Fort Myers, following Hurricane Ian.

Please pray… For the ministries of First Church of the Brethren North Fort Myers, and all those who have been blessed by the congregation’s work following Hurricane Ian.

When the church was founded in 1954, no one could have foreseen the importance of its location in Palmona Park. God knew then, as He knows now, what we need, and He is always in the details.

We continue to be blessed by individuals and other ministries with donations of clothing and food, diapers, and blankets. Another local church, with a heart for ministering to the North Fort Myers area, is using our fellowship hall for a weekly Dinner Church. They provide food and fellowship with a short Bible story on Monday nights.

Wednesday is our outreach day when we give hot dogs, water, blessing bags (more than 2,000 bags given to date), and the ever-popular freeze pops. In the evening we prepare a meal and share a message of hope in Christ using a video series from Max Lucado.

Twice a month we have partnered with MidWest Food Bank and have a pantry where people can choose what foods they need. A new refrigerator/freezer was donated by the North Fort Myers Civic Association to help us store the food given to us from MidWest Food Bank. We also received a $5,000 humanitarian grant from Brethren Disaster Ministries to help us to feed and meet the needs of our neighbors in this community.

On Thursday nights the fellowship hall is home to a Bible study called “In the Word.”

The First Church of the Brethren North Fort Myers is blessed with willing people who have brought pulpit supply in this time of being without a pastor. George and Dawn Bates from Lorida Church of the Brethren provided assistance in both the pulpit and our outreach ministries, Steve Chitwood has shared many messages with our congregation, along with retired Church of the Brethren pastor Dan Sheppard, and other members of our congregation . In November, Delene organized a Children’s Sunday that cheered our hearts and God’s.

On Dec. 10, our parking lot will host the distribution of toys to local families, sponsored by the North Fort Myers Civic Association. We will provide music and a live nativity to share with the children the gift of Jesus.

Our version of Black Friday shopping is having a yard sale from donations given by our members and neighbors. The funds raised will go back out to our community through our outreach ministries.

In the last few months there have been many showers of blessings raining down on us and times when the bleakness of the situation brought us to our knees. Through it all, this church became a beacon of light, showing all of us what the church we read of in Acts looks like in reality, where everyone comes together and shares what they have and pray together daily.

— Written by Linda Aiken, Cheri Miller, and Allison Savage, this article from the First Church newsletter was provided to Newsline by Atlantic Southeast District.


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