St. James' Yearlong Relief and Recovery Work in Flood-Ravaged Crus
About a year ago, torrential rains and severe flooding in mid-August devastated the small community of Cruso, N.C., destroying homes and upending lives.
It was hard to believe recovery could be possible. There just didn’t seem to be enough resources to go around.
Despite the odds and the near insurmountable need, members of St. James and our Outreach Commission immediately found ways to connect, act, and help our neighbors in Cruso.
Soon an entirely lay-initiated and lay-led partnership developed between St. James and churches in Cruso organizing relief efforts. St. James sent much-needed relief funds and collected goods in the immediate aftermath of the flood. In addition, St. James members, including some of our youth, sorted donated items, packed lunches, and gathered on Fridays in Cruso to help with the community fish fry.
Perhaps the most deeply involved ministry from St. James in the ongoing disaster relief in 2022 has been our Wednesday Work Crew. Most Thursdays, over the past year, they have traveled to Cruso to offer assistance—hanging new sheet rock, building new deck railings, installing floors, doors, and trim, and numerous other repair jobs.
Faithfully and without fanfare, time and again, they traveled, served, and built relationships, making a difference at a time when many in our region had completely forgotten the need and scope of the flooding.
By far, the crew says their favorite part has been getting to know the people in Cruso.“One day, the homeowner came by around lunch time with some great stories of the days gone by in the area,” said parishioner Kim Taylor. “We tend to enjoy those minutes we get to share with the very grateful victims of this storm.”
Similarly, Bob Chiles has enjoyed working side-by-side with Baptists on Mission. “We share tools and swap stories and jokes about our different denominations, but we are all there for the same reason,” he added.
Now that many of the repairs have been completed, going forward, the crew will be helping to build new houses, similar to Habitat for Humanity, for those whose homes were completely destroyed.
It can be easy, in the face of terrible natural disasters or seemingly insurmountable problems, to feel defeated. But this is just one of many stories at St. James from this year that demonstrates, with God’s love in our hearts, we truly have more than enough to make a difference in the world. St. James is blessed with an abundance of gifts—time, talent, and treasure—that all work together to proclaim the good news of God in Christ in a broken and hurting world.
What started as a call heard by St. James members to help those in needed, blossomed across our parish and its ministries, to become a yearlong partnership of love and generosity. If you’d like to help, please contact Tom Cramer, who has been coordinating the work in Cruso.