Monday, May 07, 2007

Greensburg, Kansas

These pictures tell a story without words.
Whoever heard of Greensburg, Kansas until this weekend? I hadn't. Did anyone think there could be devastation like Katrina did again? Not many. But Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting of the Kansas National Guard said in some ways the damage is worse than Hurricane Katrina, because the entire city is in ruins. "There's no place to go to stage to rebuild," said Bunting, a nearly 30-year veteran of the Guard. "We'll have to create that."" The entire city in ruins. Gone. All the churches gone. Every business on Main Street was demolished, and the town’s fire engines were crushed. This morning one of my parishioners called in tears as she watched on TV the story of the Rev. Gene McIntosh. the Methodist Minister who lost everything. They were hit by an EF-5, Tornado, with winds estimated at 205 mph. Unbelievable. 10 dead. A early warning was given which probably saved many lives.
The rural homes of several members of the Trousdale United Methodist Church, which is in nearby Trousdale, also were destroyed as the same 1.3-1.7-mile-wide tornado that hit Greensburg cut a 22-mile swath across southwest Kansas.

On the following night, May 5, another tornado struck, killing two more people and damaging buildings, including the Trousdale church. Church members gathered at the building on Sunday morning, May 6, to salvage the altar, piano and some furniture. They plan to worship May 13 at the home of a member. The Rev. Elaine Lord, Trousdale pastor, said the congregation has a strong and positive spirit and is determined to go on.
UMCOR is providing on-site support through UMCOR disaster consultant Cherri Baer, who is working with Nancy Proffitt, Kansas West disaster response coordinator, to mobilize the response when volunteers are allowed into the community. As of May 7, access to Greensburg was limited to residents and a small number of disaster responders.
Plans are under way for United Methodist volunteers to staff a liquids trailer provided by the conference's Salina District, a hot foods trailer from the Hutchinson District and a tools trailer from the Wichita East District.
To contribute financially, drop checks in local United Methodist church offering plates with "UMCOR Domestic Disaster Advance #901670" written in the memo line or made payable to UMCOR and sent to UMCOR at P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Contributions also may be made online at or by calling (800) 554-8583.
To send checks to the Kansas Area Disaster Fund, make checks payable to Kansas West Conference and indicate "Area Disaster Fund" on the memo line. Mail to Kansas West Conference, 9440 E. Boston St., Suite 110, Wichita, KS 66207. Arrangements are being made for online donations.
To volunteer, visit the Kansas West Conference Web site at or Kansas West Village at
The United Methodist response to the disaster began by mid-morning on the day after the first tornado hit. McIntosh and Lord were making calls to their parishioners, while the United Methodist Committee on Relief released an emergency grant of $10,000 to the denomination's Kansas West Annual (regional) Conference.
Kansas Area Bishop Scott J. Jones issued a special appeal for the Kansas Area Disaster Fund, asking area churches for special Sunday offerings as the severe weather season continues. Much of Kansas is also experiencing flooding as a super cell weather system continued to generate severe thunderstorms.
Prayers for those who lost family members. Prayers for those who lost their homes. Prayers for those who were injuried. Prayers for those responding to the disaster with aid and help.
Prayers for Greensberg citizens. Prayers for the Pastors who now comfort in the midst of their own loss.


Sally said...

Abi I have no words to respond with- but I will pray.

Pamela said...

Thanks for this information, will get it in our bulletin this Sunday. The pictures are compelling.

Angela said...

I am from Greensburg, Kansas. My parent's house was leveled by the tornado, so yes, I had heard of Greensburg, Kansas before this last weekend. The outpouring of support and volunteering from around the nation has been absolutely overwhelming. I can't even begin to express how much we all appreciate what everyone from around the nation. You can contact me at

Jamie Driver said...

Rev. Abi, I am praying for everyone in this tornado-ravaged town. Special prayers to Rev. Gene McIntosh and family. Gene was my math teacher in high school. Him & Judy are wonderful people! I didn't know where they had went until now, but I'm glad he's teaching the good word of God.
God Bless to ya'll.

Joni said...

Thank you for this nice post. I hail from the Greensburg area as well. My parents have a farm a few miles north of town. Greensburg was a great place to grow up.

Thanks again for helping spread the word about how others can assist.

God bless.