Tag Archives: Tornado

Responding to the Oklahoma Tornado

A tornado-destroyed home. Photo by Evan Silverstein

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) will be responding with One Great Hour of Sharing funds and members of the National Response Team to the devastating tornado that struck Moore, a populous suburb of Oklahoma City, Okla.

The 200 mph, F-4 tornado struck Monday evening and destroyed whole neighborhoods. Two elementary schools were in the tornado’s path, and one school sustained a direct hit.

Church leaders have issued a call to prayer. 

Read situation reports, and find out how you can stand in the GAP for disaster survivors.

Community Presbyterian Rededication in Henryville

Dear Friends,

The Presbytery of Ohio Valley and the Session of the Henryville Community Presbyterian Church invite you to attend a special service of rededication for the Henryville Community Presbyterian Church building on Sunday, September 23, at 4:00 pm (eastern time). A reception will follow in the church hall.

Join us for this celebration of the hard work, strong faith, and resounding hope of so many in our preabytery and beyond.

Even as I write these words, however, our sisters and brothers on the Gulf Coast are reeling from yet another disaster, as Hurricane Isaac makes landfall on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Please visit
for a call for prayer by leaders in our denomination, and for more information on ways you can respond, visit the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance website at

And so we continue to affirm that in life and in death, and in all the circumstances of life, we belong to God. And we belong to each other. Thanks be to God for these blessed connections.

Peace and all good,
The Rev’d. Susan C. McGhee
Executive Presbyter
The Presbytery of Ohio Valley

Tornado Recovery Update: We’re Building a House!

July 17, 2012

Dear Friends,

I’m learning that they don’t call it “long term recovery” for nothing! Indeed, the process of helping people restore and reclaim and rebuild and recover following a disaster requires months and months of hard work.

I am so grateful for all the good and hard work of so many in our presbytery since the tornados of March 2. If I tried to name them all, I would certainly fail. I want especially, however, to lift up Mike and Jean Beaver, Jack Cormack, Sharon Kutz-Mellem, Peter Barnes-Davies, and Susan Ohlendorf, who have been an active part of March2Recovery. They have done our presbytery proud with their continued dedication.

In addition to our work with the ongoing long-term recovery efforts, I am pleased to announce today that the Presbytery of Ohio Valley will be building a house!

We will undertake this effort in partnership with Volunteers-ROC (Rebuilding our Community).  This decision comes following several weeks of discernment and meetings, including visits to construction sites and conversations with some of the families being served. Yesterday, Mike and Jean and Jack and I spent several hours with Kevin Cox, who serves as director for V-ROC.  V-ROC is a southern Indiana ministry of the Hope Crisis Response Network, and follows nationally recognized guidelines for case management and home construction. To date, V-ROC has put over 120 families back in homes following the March 2 tornados, and they have seven houses currently under construction.

Our partnership will enable us to purchase building materials at cost (a huge savings). In addition, we will be able to use as much or as little of V-ROC’s assistance as we need in such areas as house design, site supervision, licensed plumbers and electricians, and the scheduling and housing of volunteers. The presbytery will be covering the full cost of this construction from donations received from within our bounds and from around the country.

Our next step is to identify a family, which we will do in partnership with V-ROC’s case management system. From there we will begin to set a construction schedule and secure work teams accordingly. We will be back in touch with you once we have a schedule in place. It is likely that the actual construction will not begin until later this fall, so please stay tuned. We especially want to make room for work teams from our presbytery, our sister presbyteries in Indiana, our Presbyterian friends across the river, and any others as the need and opportunities warrant.

Once the construction is completed, there will be a house-blessing and a house-warming! And we hope to be able to stay in touch with our partner family as they continue in the work of recovery.

So…. stay tuned! And keep us in prayer as we take these next steps.

And remember….
In life and in death, and in all the circumstances of life, we belong to God. And we belong to each other. Thanks be to God for these blessed connections.

Peace and all good,

The Rev’d. Susan C. McGhee
Executive Presbyter
The Presbytery of Ohio Valley

Report from POV Assembly 3/8/12

Presbytery of Ohio Valley

“What Happened at Assembly on March 8?”

Post Tornado Meeting

The Presbytery met for the first meeting after the tornadoes impacted so many of our people and communities. The clerk was simply marking people from those towns and counties as excused. He was thinking that they were far too busy. He needed to go back and mark quite a few of them as PRESENT. The call of being Christ’s community brought many to the meeting. Folk from impacted towns and counties joined those filled with concern for sisters and brothers from other areas who were filled with concern. This was a well very attended and warm spirited meeting.

Commissioning of Disaster Response Coordinators

Mike and Jean Beaver had been on the job since “tornado Friday”. They were commissioned as the coordinators for this response effort. One of the very first questions that must be asked in a disaster is, “Who is going to be in charge?” Jean and Mike Beaver answered the call and that response was blessed by an Assembly as they were commissioned them to this task.

Overture Concurrence Votes

The whole Overture process is complex at best. What happens is that a presbytery initiates an action, often in response to a session of one of its congregations. That action “goes up” to GA as an Overture. At the General Assembly these Overtures are processed through committees and reported to the floor of GA. They are then voted “yes or no”. If the Overture involves constitutional change, it is then sent back to all presbyteries for ratification or rejection.

The presbytery was asked by two different sessions to concur/agree with Overtures from two other presbyteries. Neither of these overtures involves constitutional change.

One overture directs internal GA agencies to implement an action of a prior assembly to assure appropriate response to persons with disability.

A second overture is a call to unity around the various viewpoints on matters of ordination, marriage, etc. The overture acknowledges the sincere opinion and motivation of various views and asks that we respect and value each other. This overture is a call to unity in our diverse positions.

The presbytery voted to concur with both overtures. We will be allowed to name Advocates to speak in favor of these initiatives at the GA meeting in Pittsburgh this summer.

Protocols on Pastoral Services

The presbytery approved a new standing rule which would describe a mechanism for a minister in temporary pastoral service to become the installed pastor of that same congregation. The changed Form of Government allows for this change, but the presbytery needed a way for such requests to be processed.

Presbytery also accepted an administrative process to approve some non continuing pastoral services across the boundaries of our presbytery and others.

Sharing and Welcoming our Future

In recent months the committees and commissions of the presbytery have spent time considering and sharing answers to a simple question. That question is, “What sort of Presbyterian Church would you want to be a member of?”

The Assembly spent time in small groups asking that question and listening to others as they answer. The answers are generally powerful, often produce the same themes, and are almost always something that can be accomplished.

Reports and Worship

The assembly received and acted on reports from committees and commissions. The worship included a sermon offered by Scott Hill and Communion celebrated by Susan McGhee.


Larry Jackman
Stated Clerk
Presbytery of Ohio Valley

Areas Affected by the Tornado

UPDATE: Please go to the POV Newsletter & Updates page for current links and information.

The information in this article was current as of 3/6/2012. 

Regarding monetary donations, the Presbytery has set up an account to receive them. All checks need to be clearly labeled (either in the memo line or in accompanying documentation) for Tornado Relief and mailed to:

Presbytery of Ohio Valley
P.O. Box 1864
Indianapolis, IN 46206-1864

For those wishing to volunteer time and cleanup aid: We are still in the beginning stages of this recovery effort – so much yet to do – so many needs yet to assess. If you have not already, please send the Presbytery Office an email message detailing what assistance you are offering (supplies, timeframe, etc.) and your contact information. I am forwarding the offers of assistance I receive on to our Disaster Relief Coordinators. Because of the Herculean task before them, I cannot promise when they will be able to respond – but they will have this information.

The best contact for anyone with immediate plans to travel to the Clark County (Henryville) area is the local Red Cross – they are already set up to organize and direct volunteers. Below is contact information for the volunteer effort, as well as the most current list of supplies needed.

VOLUNTEER RECEPTION CENTER, JEFFERSONVILLE, 9 a.m.  to 4:00 p.m., 7 days a week
CAUTION – The Indiana State Police and Clark County Sheriff’s Dept do not allow anyone without credentials into the Henryville area.

Do NOT self-deploy to the area.

Official Volunteer Reception Center is operated by Metro United Way and is located at 723 Spring Street, Jeffersonville, IN. 47130. Hours: 9am-4pmET, 7 days a week. Location is just off exit 1 of I-65 in the former Bales Car Sales. To volunteer, come to center or call 812-287-0519 or 812-287-0523.

Volunteers must register, sign release and obtain safety training at the United Way Volunteer Reception Center. Because of current safety hazards, volunteers must be 18 years. May accept volunteers ages 16-17 with signed parental consent. Younger volunteers may be accepted after hazards are cleared. Work boots, heavy duty gloves & warm clothes are recommended. Homeowners asking for help from Volunteers should call 812-287-0521 or call 211.

SPECIFIC NEEDS – as of 3/5/12
Bottled water
Non-perishable food items
Paper products
Household cleaning items
Gloves – heavy duty, Nitrile, work
Heavy Duty trash bags
Personal hygiene items (toilet paper, feminine hygiene items, toothbrushes & toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.)
Cat food/dog food/kitty litter
SO IN DONATIONS WAREHOUSE is operated by Adventist Community Services, the disaster
warehousing expert. 700 Patrol Road, Charlestown, IN, which is in the old US Census Bureau warehouse. Follow the receiving signs to Gate 2. Official ACS signage is expected Monday.

Donations Management Phones – 812-287-0090 and 812-287-0026. Please note that voice mail is not activated or checked regularly yet. Be patient with warehouse phones.

Thank you all so very much!