Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Please pray for God's peace and assurance of His Presence for the victims of this terrible and tragic devastation, and do what you can to help - Max Solbrekken

From: Rev. Ken Solbrekken [javascript:main.compose('new',%20'[email protected]]')
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 4:05 PM

Subject: Emergency Relief - Slave Lake
Dear Friends:

Christian greetings!

On Sunday, May 15th, 2011, devastation hit the community of Slave Lake
without warning.  Below is an excerpt from breaking news that day:

"A pair of wind-driven wildfires forced thousands of residents of Slave
Lake, Alta., to evacuate their homes Sunday.  Residents of the town of
7,000 people were leaving via Highway 2 southeast to Athabasca. The
community's town hall has burned down, according to a local radio
station, which said that it had lost its own building.  Slave Lake RCMP
Staff Sgt. Mike Proctor said "probably 30 per cent of the structures" in
the town had been destroyed by fire.  Alberta Sustainable Resources
Minister Mel Knight said the evacuation of Slave Lake, which is about
200 kilometers north of Edmonton, was complicated by road closures.
Hundreds of firefighters are trying to save the town, Knight said.
However, fire crews were hampered by heavy smoke and strong winds, which
grounded water bombers Sunday.  Slave Lake's website said earlier in the
day that the flames had breached the community's southern boundary.
"Please move toward large green areas, beaches or large parking lots
like Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire or the Sawridge Mall Parking Lot," the
notice said.  "Do not attempt to leave on the highways if they are not

Once the information of this tragedy was heard, calls and emails started
coming into our District office seeking information on how help could be
given to our church, Abundant Life Worship Centre, and to the entire
community of Slave Lake.  Our initial response was very limited as we
didn't have anyone from the community to talk with, because of the
evacuation.  As well, our Pastor, Rodney Fortin was outside of Canada
with some community families where he was officiating a wedding.

Just yesterday (May 24th) we had opportunity to talk with Pastor Rodney
and his wife Tracy.  They are safe and thankfully, their house was
spared.  Rod has not been to Slave Lake yet and is hoping to be back
soon, maybe this Friday.  This trip will be to observe personally the
damage and develop some next steps planning. At this time, it appears
the church building is fine but that is yet to be confirmed until an
on-site visit is possible.

Yesterday, Pastor Rod along with other local pastor's participated in a
conference call with Samaritan's Purse representatives; they were
talking through strategies for the community and how to express the love
of Christ to all.  The following points are what have been determined as
first steps:
* Love the Community
* Listen to the Community
* Have 'Open Doors' from the churches that are standing
* Provide counseling and good listening skills

Many have asked if they can send money to help in the recovery.  Our
initial response was to direct them to the Red Cross as we were unable
to determine how the money would need to be used.  We are now prepared
to receive financial contributions from individuals as well as churches,
ministries or businesses to the EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND of the Alberta &
NWT District; however, the funds will have to be given with the
understanding at this time that they will be distributed as needed in
cooperation with Abundant Life Worship Centre without specific
designation. Each contribution designated toward the Emergency Relief
Fund will be used as designated toward Slave Lake with the understanding
that when the need for this has been met, or cannot be completed for any
reason as determined by the AB & NWT District, the remaining
contributions designated for Slave Lake will be used in future emergency
relief projects. Eligible donors will receive an income tax receipt.

Donations can be made payable to the AB & NWT DISTRICT and designated to

Once we have more details and greater long-term strategy from our Pastor
and church leadership as well as the community leaders, we will bring
those updates to you.

This unprecedented event is drawing the community together as well as
the church at large and people from many parts of Canada and the world.

Please have your community of Faith in prayer, asking God for His wisdom
and for His love to be expressed and received to all affected.


Rev. Ken SolbrekkenDistrict Superintendent
[email protected]
(p) 780-426-0018