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Breaking News:

Christian Council launches ‘Operation Restoration’

  • A home in Salina Point, Acklins that was severely damaged during the passage of Hurricane Irma. TORRELL GLINTON

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Sep 13, 2017

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This is a time for Bahamians to come together and uplift families facing unimaginable hardship in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Bahamas Christian Council President Bishop Delton Fernander said yesterday.

As the government and its agencies coordinate relief efforts on the islands impacted, the church intends to “do its part as it always has”, according to Fernander, who said church leaders had an emergency meeting on Monday and determined churches will launch “Operation Restoration” this week.

“The Bible talks about the strong bearing the infirmities of the weak and this is where the rest of us who were spared must come in to rebuild these persons’ lives,” Fernander said.

“With the service on Friday we want to give God thanks for how He guided the storm, and although islands were touched, He allowed no loss of life for the past three years where we’ve had Category 4 and higher storms.

“In those three years, no lives have been lost [in The Bahamas].

“Although some may call it luck it has to be an act of God when we compare ourselves to other places where the same category has hit and lives have been lost.

“It is not that we’re special, but we want to join in a service of thanksgiving.

“In that service we begin the giving.

“We have asked churches to make a pledge.

“We’re going to ask that every church would set aside at least next Sunday or the Sunday after to do a dollar drive where each member would bring one dollar.”

The service will be held at the Church of God of Prophecy on Coral Road at 7:30 p.m.

Bahamas Harvest Church Pastor Mario Moxey will oversee the efforts on the ground on the impacted islands, which Fernander said will be called ‘Operation Hope’.

A portion of the funds raised will be diverted to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) while another portion will be used to assist residents directly on the impacted islands.

“The church begins this journey and we are in it for the long haul,” Fernander said.

“We are going to provide food on those islands, water on those islands.

“We are going to be there until it is finished.

“So, we begin this journey that we’re calling Operation Restoration.”

The need is great in the southern islands that were impacted.

While 1,200-plus residents from the southern islands were evacuated to New Providence ahead of the storm, for residents of Ragged Island, for example, there is little to return to.

Government officials are expected to travel to Inagua today to assess the damage there.

Fernander travelled with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, members of his Cabinet, members of the opposition and the media to Acklins, Ragged Island and Crooked Island on Monday.

He said it was heartbreaking to hear the experiences of residents who remained.

For those who have experienced loss, Fernander said there is an still an opportunity to rebuild.

He said the church will look to its partners internationally to assist, but noted that with South Florida taking a direct hit from Irma over the weekend, the church will have to look internally for now.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, the Christian Council coordinated with churches in South Florida, which came to The Bahamas’ aid in droves, Fernander said.




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