2021: Historic December 2021 Tornado Response

In this Article
December 17, 2021

Dear PCA Family:

Beginning on the evening of December 10, 2021, and extending into the morning hours of December 11, 2021, a deadly tornado outbreak produced catastrophic damage and numerous fatalities across portions of the Southern United States and into the Ohio Valley. A trough began in the Mississippi Valley and, while traveling NE, the system developed tornado activity in northeastern AK, before progressing into MI, IL, TN, and KY. This storm was the deadliest December tornado event in US history, more than doubling the number of deaths of the Vicksburg, MS event in 1953.

MNA Disaster Response has been in contact with all the presbyteries within the path of the tornadoes. Assessment teams, consisting of PCA key leaders/pastors, were sent into communities served by the PCA so as to understand the needs of the local churches and the desire of those congregations to undertake relief operations. Four presbyteries were affected by the storm; in God’s providence no community served by the PCA suffered major damage rising to the level of a denominational response.  Local congregations have been providing cleanup services in their respective communities. 

MNA Disaster Response coordinates the PCA response to disaster when invited by affected presbyteries and churches when the level of damage exceeds the capacity of the local presbyteries or churches to coordinate the response. MNA Disaster Response provides assistance to non-PCA families through partnership with PCA diaconates upon request. 

For information: The PCA doesn’t have a church in Mayfield KY, the hardest-hit community by this system, and front and center in the media. The closest PCA congregations to Mayfield are approximately an hours’ drive away in Troy TN and Clarksville TN.  Further, the PCA community that suffered the most damage is located in Bowling Green KY which is within Nashville Presbytery. Chainsaw teams from Nashville TN and Louisville KY deployed there earlier this week to assist the local church; however, at this point no further traveling teams are being requested. 

Going forward we are working with leadership in Nashville, Covenant, Illiana, and Ohio Valley Presbyteries to plan long-term recovery options. One possibility that is under serious consideration is deploying Sheds of Hope. If that is the desire of Nashville Presbytery and the Bowling Green congregation, we will be back in touch with you to request your assistance.  At this point we are not requesting volunteers or financial resources for this event. However, that could change in the weeks ahead if need is determined and requested by Nashville Presbytery. If that happens MNA Disaster Response will be in touch to request your partnership. We are especially cautious to never appeal for recovery funds before we have all the facts in hand and a solid plan in place to respond; in this case and at this point MNA Disaster Response is not coordinating a major response and no funding is needed. 

Serving you with my whole heart,
Arklie Hooten
MNA ShortTerm Missions & Disaster Response Director
Mission to North America / Presbyterian Church in America

Updated on February 9, 2022

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